There’s Gold in Them Cows

No, that’s not me.

Back in the’80s, us Irish-Americans used to feel pretty cool when our rural Irish cousins would come to visit us in New York, overwhelmed by our skyscrapers, blue jeans, and shockingly white butter. Fast forward a few decades, one massive economic trade pact, and three terms of Bush economic policies, and now we’re the quaint, poor ones, and Ireland is one of the richest countries in the world.

Among the turnabouts, they now have really nice cars, loads of political corruption, and my roof-thatcher uncle has become some sort of real estate baron. So now when we go visit, instead of sending the kids to go camp out in the backyard, they have an entire extra house for us. Pretty sweet! So two summers ago, when my brother, his wife, my cousin, her boyfriend, and my other cousin (oh, there’s a lot of cousins) went to Dunmore for yet another cousin’s wedding, we got our own house to ourselves, right in the middle of town, within stumbling distance of Dunmore’s many high-quality pubs.

And yes, I say all this to talk about butter.

Each night during that trip, as we returned home just a little tipsy from our nightly pub crawls, we would feast on what at the moment seemed like the most amazing food in the world: toast.

It happened the same way every night – one of us pops in a slice or two of white bread, then realizes they should probably make that four or five slices, and we don’t stop until most of the loaf is gone. The bread itself didn’t seem like anything amazing – a simple white loaf – and I don’t believe the toaster was magic. We soon realized it was the butter that had elevated this basic snack to an art form. Incredible creaminess masked in a vibrant yellow color, Irish butter is sold under the brand Kerrygold, a delicious product with the potential to seduce anyone, even that Land O Lakes Indian.

So I was pretty stoked when I visited the food co-op this week and found they have added Kerrygold to their stable of dairy products. I bought a giant block of it, ran home to make some white toast, and it is just about as good as I had remembered. So what makes Kerrygold so superior to your everyday butter? I did a little research

Smooth and creamy, Kerrygold is the essence of the Emerald Isle. Echoing the unspoilt nature of rural Ireland, purity and taste lie at the heart of all Kerrygold products.

OK, not that we’re done with the Lucky Charms commercial, let’s be real. How do they actually make this butter so amazing?

The cream used in the production of Kerrygold Softer Butter is only sourced from specific periods in the summer, when the grass is at its best. Kerrygold use only the milk from cows that graze on summer grass, and it’s this diet of the lush, green summer pastures of Ireland which gives Kerrygold butter its lovely golden hue.

This cream is richest in naturally softer milk fat. It is free from all artificial colourings, flavourings, emulsifiers, stabilisers or preservatives.

Hows about that for some organo-loco bona fides. And of course, it wouldn’t be Irish unless it had a story of resistance and struggle behind it…

Historically, butter had been exported from Ireland in bulk form and was then incorporated with butters of other origins.

Following the establishment of the Irish Dairy Board in 1961, the new general manager – a young, athletic and already renowned Irish rugby international named Tony O’Reilly, initiated a plan to unify the Irish Dairy Industry behind a strong international brand.

The brand Kerrygold was created and Irish butter, packed in the now famous gold foil, was launched in 1962.

So don’t go trying to ruin our beautiful butter – you hear that, oppressors?

More St. Patrick’s Day food and drink ideas in Endless St. Patrick’s Day

(Photo: Kerry Gold)

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  • gansie April 2, 2008  

    has anyone spotted this luxury item in dc?

  • Liza April 2, 2008  

    My mom was going on and on about Irish butter this past weekend! I think she gets hers at Whole foods in Oklahoma…. I’ll find out!

  • belmontmedina April 2, 2008  

    Sez here it’s available at your local Soviet safeway:

  • Mike Donlon April 2, 2008  

    When are you going to write about Dubliner Cheese?
    Kerry Gold butter, black pudding, Donnellys sausages are available at They stock loads of Irish goodies

  • MissGinsu April 2, 2008  

    You know… I’ve bought kerrygold at my local supermarket and I swear it can’t really be the same product you’re talkin’ up here. Maybe it just tastes better when you’re in Ireland. I can’t determine the difference between that and other premium butters like Plugra. Maybe a butter throwdown is in order.

  • BS April 2, 2008  

    hmmm…it may be that I am just comparing it to land o lakes and I’m not familiar enough with premium butters. Clearly, I support the idea of a butter throwdown.

  • Angela April 2, 2008  

    I live in the Netherlands (Holland to most of you 🙂 and travel regularly to Germany to buy Kerrygold Irish butter! The best. No bias or anything, being Irish myself.

  • JoeHoya April 2, 2008  
  • 80PMom April 2, 2008  

    I was excited to try it, but my Whole Foods (a small one) didn’t have it. I was restocking the Dubliner cheddar cheese that I liked and noticed that it has a Kerrygold label–green with a cow. Maybe this is the same Irish dairy board certification?
    Thanks for the tip. I’ll keep looking.

  • Britannia April 2, 2008  

    I think I’ve mentioned this in previous comments but there is an awesome fish and chip shop (fries for you Americans) called Eamonn’s in Old Town, VA that also sells Irish and English products, not sure if there is butter but it is certainly worth a visit:

    I try and visit fish and chip shops when I go to new cities and I have to say that Eamonn’s is possibly the best I’ve been to in the U.S.

  • 80PMom April 2, 2008  

    JoeHoya’s link answered my question while I was typing!

  • Patti April 2, 2008  

    I too recently learned of the importance of really good/fresh butter. I asked a chef friend for the secret to really crispy chocolate chip cookies and he told me really fresh butter! I just got the Trader Joe’s variety – but I’ll say pretty dang crispie and special!!

    For those of you in the Washington, DC area – or planning a trip – there is a small independently owned Scottish restaurant in Wheaton, Maryland (DC suburb – Metro friendly) that serves the best fish and chips in this region and I would put them on a par with the fish and chips we had in Galway. It is called the Royal Mile Pub and the food is consistently good.

  • Moira April 2, 2008  

    mmm butter.

    So now instead of every cool white person in America saying “mmmm, I know it sounds cliche, but it really is true. Guinness just tastes better in Ireland.” They will be saying it about kerry gold. Good job BS!

  • gansie April 2, 2008  

    Britt–i’m a big fan of Eamonn’s too. and i love that they offer like 10 different sauces for the fish and chips.

  • Emma April 2, 2008  

    there is nothing like kerry gold. it is amazing – try it on fresh brown bread….mmm… I recently moved to NY – it was one of the first things I bought, honestly I dont know if I could live without it!!!

  • John April 2, 2008  

    The trip to Ireland was great overall but the one part that always seems to make its way back to conversation is “Do you remember how good that bread and butter was after the pubs”…great post. Off to Whole Foods.

  • MissGinsu April 2, 2008  

    Right, then. Despite the crazy pricetag, I’ll be stopping by my local Key Food tonight (which, may I add, is shockingly well-stocked in European butters… apparently the good Polish people of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are willing to drop some cash for quality dairy). I’ll report back…

  • Breda April 2, 2008  

    BS I would probably blame the bread you tested it on as opposed to the butter!! I’ll get Mammy to airlift some sodabread over to you 😉 which would beat the toast hands down!

  • Ramona April 2, 2008  

    Kerrygold reminds me of eating at Irish Chef Cathal Armstrong’s Restaurant Eve. As if the Lickety Split wasn’t a mind-blowing value what with soups, house-smoked and cured meats, and mussels, but the bread! oh, the bread, which comes with a ramekin of soft Kerrygold butter.
    Here’ something that will take you back to Ireland-get some Kerrygold and let it get to room temp, and sread it over Eve’s ciabatta bread (sliced and warmed a bit in the oven). You can get it from Grape and Bean in Old Town.
    And the Irish influence doesn’t end there-I recently bought an Irish brie there. Mmmmm, indeed.

  • BS's Mom April 2, 2008  

    Brittania: Next time you’re in NY, you should try A Salt and Battery in Greenwich Village. Excellent fish and chips.

  • Mike Donlon April 3, 2008  

    The home of Fish and Chips in the US is Kearney NJ.
    My first memory of Fish and Chips: After the pubs closed in Manchester, UK, Chip shops were packed, and we were served fish and chips wrapped in that days daily newspaper. Not worried about the ink, soaking in to the greasy chips, that is the way it was done back then.

  • Cara May 24, 2008  

    Right I have only just discovered this endlesssimmer site, and I know I’m the last to react, but still.. I know what you mean.
    We always have loads of toast with ‘real Irish butter’ as we used to call it. Now my mom get it in Germany and she gives me some. She used to bring it back from Ireland, but driving to Germany is a bit easier!
    Love it!!!! Nothing is quite te same

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  • Ciss March 11, 2012  

    I regularly buy my Kerrygold butter at Trader Joes. Can’t beat it and the price is right too.

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