French butter is serious business. Four regional varieties-Charentes, Charentes-Poitou and Deux Sèvres from the Atlantic coast, and Normandy’s Beurre d’Isigny have AOC status. But the most sought-after butter right now comes from a tiny fromagerie in the historic Breton port of St-Malo. Jean-Yves Bordier, a third-generation butter-maker, supplies many three-star tables, and chefs such as Joël Robuchon, Alain Passard and Yves Camdeborde rely on him for delicious organic butter made from the finest cream, slowly kneaded in a wooden baratte (churn) and hand shaped with ridged wooden paddles. The result is a rich butter with flavors that evoke sunny meadows, sea air and even hazelnuts. Bordier recommends tasting it by placing-not spreading-a chunk on a slice of bread, or simply popping it into your mouth all alone. Bordier butter comes sweet, salted, seaweed-speckled or-the newest variety-sel fumé, flavored with smoked salt, black pepper, onion and curry. 9 rue de l’Orme, St-Malo. In Paris at La Grande Epicerie (38 rue de Sèvres, 7th) and other fine grocery stores.

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