Sunday, October 17, 2010

Table Style: Ode to a French Butter Bell

Have you seen one of these?  Maybe you are wondering why my head has been under a rock for so long but I only just discovered this charming little crock.

One weekend not long ago, Nick and I were visiting our friend, Janice, in Beacon.  Imagine a beautiful, historical Victorian house on a hill overlooking the Hudson River.  After a wonderful day at the Dia Beacon (quite possible one of my favorite places) we had a lovely evening getting acquainted with new and friendly faces.  The next morning, I was the first one up in the quiet house and went to sit in what is my favorite room in any home.  So I slipped out of the bedroom, crept down the stairs and into the sunny kitchen complete with glass door cabinets, tall windows and exposed brick over the stove.  It wasn't long before Janice joined me.  She set a white, french teapot before me and we gossiped like high school girls (or at least the girls we were in high school).  When the rest of the gang got up, Janice played the good hostess and started on a breakfast spread that included some of the best blueberry pancakes I ever had.  She then offers us our syrup and butter and I notice the most charming little ceramic pot. "Haven't you seen one of these?" she asks as I marvel at the soft, perfectly spreadable consistency of the butter. "It's a butter bell."

Sometimes, it is the smallest details on the table that can also make a meal memorable.  Not to mention that the design of this crock is ingenious.  You add a little cool water to bottom half of the pot and butter is smashed down into the vessel attached to the lid.  The water will create a seal and regulate the temperature in the pot so that the butter keeps a long shelf life and remains in a soft and spreadable state.

I must admit the following morning I resolved to get one.  Being an artist myself I checked on etsy.  There is a lovely selection of these beautiful and functional objects.  I bought mine from a shop called claypots and am truly impressed by the workmanship.  Check out some foodie potters when you get the chance.  I am looking forward to trying out some flavored butter recipes.


  1. omg, i need to get one of these RIGHT NOW. wow. apparently my head was under the same rock as yours. good company.

  2. here is the potter's facebook page:!/profile.php?id=100000221107836

    and here is his store front:

    He does very good work.

  3. Oh - I love butter pots too! Emile Henry (French company) sells really nice ones. Down here in Tennessee I have to put mine away for the summer (it gets too hot and the butter drops down into the water) but I just pulled mine out.