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You may have seen Irish butter in the supermarket, and at a greater price than regular butter. If you’ve never tried it then you might not know why anyone would pay nearly double. While I love all butter, there is something extra special about Irish butter. For a long time I assumed that Irish butter was somehow cultured, but it turns out that’s a whole other ball of butter. Instead, Irish butter is both made from higher quality milk and to a different standard than American butter.

a package of Irish butter
Via/ Unsplash

The differences between American and Irish butter start with the color. Irish butter is more yellow than most of the butter on grocery shelves in the U.S. The reason behind this yellow color comes from the increased beta carotene that the cows get from eating the intensely-green grass in Ireland. Rainfall and temperature affect this coloration in the grass.

Irish cow near the Cliffs of Moher
Via/ Unsplash

In the U.S. many cows are fed dried grass and grains instead of fresh, green grass. What the cows eat not only affects the color, but also the flavor and many people are said to prefer the more intense taste of Irish butter.

Irish butter
Via/ Unsplash

Irish butter is also easy to spread, even when cold. This is because the fat content is about 2% higher than in American butter. And, it isn’t just Irish butter. Much of the butter found across Europe also has this higher fat content. European butter also has more nutrients than our standard, pale sticks of butter. There are even those who say that you can’t interchange European and American butters in baking recipes because of these differences.

Find out more about how European butter is different from American butter in the video below.