French

Better than Butter on Bread; Better than Cheese on Bread

September 16, 2016

In the five days that Food52's design team has been traveling through Europe, we've by no means held back on our consumption of cheese. A slab of barnyard-y Brie for breakfast, Comté by the curlicue to prepare one's belly for more dessert. Snack cheese. Free cheese. Ashy cheese. Cheese.

We had started the journey in Antwerp, where our cheese intake was matched only by our ability to drink the local beer, so by the time we sat down for lunch in the itsy town of Merville, France, a green or three might have been nice. Instead, we were reminded that more is almost always better.

Important life revelation: eating cheese with butter is very good. Thanks France! #f52abroad

A photo posted by Amanda Hesser (@amandahesser) on

As guests that day at the factory where Staub makes all its enameled cast iron cookware, we were treated to a three-course meal (with a view of molten cast iron being dispensed from 30-foot tall furnaces, amongst other visual delights). There were too many moments to count that saw us all gathered together, slack-jaw in amazement at the world we were suddenly privy to.

But our first "can't wait to show it off back home" lesson came with the cheese plate.

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“I once made Irish brown bread and took it to work with Irish butter and Irish cheese. Bread/butter? Good. Bread/cheese? Good. Bread/butter/cheese? OUTSTANDING!”
— ErinM724
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Thierry, Head of Development at Staub, was joining us for lunch. After buttering a hunk of bread, he didn't salt it or even eat it—he next slathered it with cheese. Somebody noticed and remarked: Wait—the butter goes under the cheese? Pause. Big smile. Yes! He went on to say that in France, it's actually traditional to eat cheese and bread with butter between them. Intrepidly, skeptically, we followed suit. It's not just good, as you can imagine it being. It's game-changing.

Slipped between bread and cheese slice, a cold smear of butter works magic, lending its melty sweetness and, if you've opted for salted, an even cheesier flavor to the cheese. Cheesier cheese. You've done it, France! Follow suit: On your next cheese plate, drop a knob of butter amongst the boulders. Nobody will be mad about it.

Yes, seeing the cast iron cocottes being made was even more of a revelation than butter-on-cheese—and we'll be sharing all about it in the coming weeks! Follow our trip with the hashtag #f52abroad for more glimpses into our trip!

79 Comments

Norma J. December 7, 2018
Have always been doing this for many many years. I’m 72 and this is how my Mom made our cheese sandwiches when I was a little girl...perhaps 70 years!
 
RobinT November 24, 2018
I too have been doing it forever and always felt a little guilty. Feel so much better now to know you're "supposed" to do it that way!!! Yay!!
 
Mj L. November 23, 2018
Ive been doing this forever. No idea where I got it. It’s just GOOD!!!
 
Mike M. July 13, 2018
All these people afraid to eat butter, but then they drink 5 or 6 Red Bulls or Starbucks lattes every day.
 
Mike M. July 13, 2018
I guess as a dude who is somewhat "older", I really think that this idea that putting a little bit of butter on something being the epitome of reckless bohemian excess is just very strange. It comes from the late '80's; this misinformation and propaganda that eating a little bit of butter is going to give you a heart attack or something lol. It's ridiculous. OMG butter!!!
 
Picholine July 1, 2018
Isn’t there a code of conduct? When we call people names and berate someone over this subject...this I just not right.<br />Come on FOOD52 , don’t tolerate this!<br />
 
HalfPint July 2, 2018
Hi, Picholine<br />F52 must have removed offending comments because for the life of me, I can't find much that is offensive in any of the comments below, much less any profanity. Sure, there are a few smug, superior attitudes. Annoying know-it-all attitude, yes, but hardly profane or offensive. If I'm blind, let me know.
 
Customer C. July 2, 2018
Hi Picholine! <br /><br />Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. As HalfPint guessed, we indeed removed the offending comment, which violated our Code of Conduct.<br /><br />Thanks again for your help keeping our site kind and respectful!<br /><br />Warmly,<br />Food52 Customer Care Team
 
Picholine July 2, 2018
Thanks...we all so enjoy this site.
 
Picholine July 2, 2018
Oh , yes the f bomb was used and other mean remarks.
 
Frank S. May 20, 2018
After all cheese and butter of the same ingredients. The Germans do this as well but of course the butter has to be the best quality and no crappy bread
 
Chip D. May 18, 2018
What about butter and Nutella. When I lived in France my host brother showed me this and BOOM game changer..
 
Katie F. May 18, 2018
Also, bread, butter and peanut butter...yummy! Eaten very rarely and only on special occasions.
 
Erik W. May 5, 2018
OK, I've been living in Paris for over two years now, and I keep getting emails whenever anyone comments on this topic. So I thought I'd give an update. This morning my wife and I walked with our giant chocolate lab to one of our many neighborhood cafes for breakfast. Each of our (very French) orders came with a HUGE wrapped cylinder of wonderful chilled, unsalted butter tucked into half a sliced fresh baguette, along with a tiny jar of amazing apricot preserves. The rule here seems to be BUTTER ON EVERYTHING. Where do you think Julia Child learned to love butter so much? From living in France. So just ignore these people saying "The French don't put anything on their bread", or "No butter on a cheese sandwich". Hogwash. My wife and I joke that butter isn't a condiment in Paris, it's a main ingredient. They love their butter and it's joyfully smeared or melted or layered into so many pastries, sauces, sandwiches, and whatever else you can think of.
 
Karen L. May 5, 2018
Wow! That trip sounds amazing! I was really n Paris for the first time in September 2016. THE BREAD!!!!!!
 
Frances Q. February 24, 2018
I always butter my cheese sandwiches. Delicious. Will try this on my next cheese plate too.<br />
 
Karlis S. August 1, 2017
Hmm. I do not believe I have ever eaten a cheese sandwich without butter. This is not exactly the discovery of the century.
 
Dragonstorm August 10, 2018
I’m with you and I’ve never been to France.
 
Phil S. July 17, 2017
It's like... a cheese sandwich, only it's a cheese sandwich! How is this in any way revolutionary? You get paid to write this?
 
Shannon S. October 14, 2017
LOl
 
Mike M. July 1, 2018
Maybe it's an intern...
 
Rafael B. July 13, 2017
we allways do this in portugal, but with good and salted butter from azores!!
 
OdaO July 13, 2017
Health info: Cheese lovers who experience aching joints, please note that if you have bloodtype O, staying away from cheese may heal you. I have lived through these experiences myself, and know what I'm talking about. <br />If you cannot stay away from cheese, at least take a daily dose of Glucosamine. <br />(This will produce new protecting tissue in your joints that the cheese are inclined to deprive you of. (Taking Ibuprofen against this pain only worsen your condition, it may take away the inflammation, but dries out your joint further over time, choose other medication)).<br />I don't want to divide the love of cheese discussion with this, only to give some important info for anyone who have unexplainable jointpains and eats cheese 24/7.
 
OdaO July 13, 2017
Goat cheeses does not affect you.
 
xxyy July 13, 2017
This is not supported by science. Blood type doesn't affect your dietary needs.
 
OdaO July 13, 2017
Goodness, here in Norway we have (good) butter on our sandwiches, of course with cheese, and always, always with jam! <br />(No-one have fooled me into thinking margarine is healthier, and has not deprived me of my beloved daily dose of butter for the last 30 years).
 
Brit D. July 13, 2017
Been doing this in the UK for years!
 
Kevin​ V. June 17, 2017
Looks really good..
 
Charlie May 28, 2017
I've lived in France for thirteen years -- I've never once seen a French person put butter on their bread, and certainly NEVER with cheese. Even when making a sandwich, the exception being a ham and butter baguette, which is a 'thing' all of its own. They don't serve butter at the dining table - you have to ask for it, if you want it (and it's always unsalted) - and bread is always eaten as it comes: fresh baked, without anything added. Wherever you had this experience would be a rare exception to the normal rule, and it wouldn't surprise me if they gave you butter because they thought that's what Americans 'do' (a bit like they overcook steaks for the English, assuming (wrongly) we all like our meat grey and tough). In the UK, however, we eat butter with everything - bread potatoes, chips... well, maybe not chips (fries). BUt deep fried Mars bars do exist in Scotland, so never say never! :D