Slow Food Aberdeen City & Shire organised the first World Buttery Championship, held on the 16th of June 2018 at North East Scotland College (NESCOL)’s Aberdeen City Campus.
The competition pitted baker against baker in order to crown the best buttery in the world.
Amateurs and professionals alike will joined together in celebration of the humble buttery, a unique breakfast item associated with Aberdeen City and Shire. Outwith the region, the buttery (also known as a rowie or roll) is virtually unheard of, but historically it was taken onboard boats by fishermen sailing from ports up and down the North East coast. The traditional buttery was a crispy, flaky and buttery, salted bread product which was favoured by local boats because of its high fat and salt content which gave it a long shelf life.
Since then the buttery has changed significantly, as Event Coordinator Martin Gillespie explains;
“Over a number of years the traditional buttery recipe has been altered to the stage where it has become almost unrecognisable. In many cases, the commercial production of butteries has seen the original ingredients of butter and lard replaced with margarine and palm oil. Not only does this affect the taste and texture of the buttery but the use of non-sustainable palm oil has a negative environmental impact.”
These changes have prompted Slow Food to classify the traditional North East delicacy as an ‘endangered heritage food’ in their Ark of Taste. Slow Food is an international movement which raises awareness of local and global food issues such as this and champions small-scale agriculture and artisan food production.
Wendy Barrie, Slow Food Scotland’s leader for the Ark of Taste describes the project as a valuable record of our food heritage saying that, “The Ark of Taste was created by Slow Food to catalogue the existence of endangered foods and associated food culture lest they are lost or forgotten forever.” The World Buttery Championship has been launched to highlight the buttery’s new status and to raise awareness of the Slow Food organisation.
Martin Gillespie says, “We are delighted that the buttery has been entered into the Ark of Taste as it ensures that we do not lose or forget the culture and traditions surrounding it. With the World Buttery Championship we hope to promote the traditional buttery recipe in order to help preserve the heritage of the buttery and to remind people what a buttery should really taste like.”
The competition, judged by local professionals and Slow Food Aberdeen City & Shire committee members, took place on 16th of June at NESCOL’s Aberdeen City Campus and was open to buttery lovers of any skill level.