Four years ago, Brisbane restaurateur Simon Gloftis (Hellenika, SK Steak & Oyster, Sushi Room and Sunshine) was strolling through Byron Bay when he crossed paths with a former colleague, Claire Beard.

“I asked what she’s up to and she said ‘making butter’,” recalls Gloftis. “I tasted it and there was nothing like it [on the market].”

Gloftis knew then that he wanted to be involved in creating a new plant-based butter to rival supermarket brands like Nuttelex. Since then, the team – comprising Gloftis, Beard and her husband Luke McCartin – has established a production facility on the Gold Coast capable of producing 4000 blocks a day. Bu Deli officially launched in late January and is now available in select stores in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, northern NSW and Melbourne’s Morning Market.

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Back in 2016, Beard was making the butter by hand. At the time, Beard and McCartin owned a cafe in Omanu, New Zealand, called George. They decided to go vegan and convert the menu to plant-based. Beard wanted to continue making croissants but couldn’t find a plant-based butter that she liked. So she started making her own.

“There was no option at the time, so I started tinkering,” Beard tells Broadsheet. It took a year or two before she was happy with the result.

The final product is a blend of macadamias, cashews, organic olive oil, cultured coconut cream, soy milk and coconut oil. The macadamias come from the Northern Rivers region, salt is sourced from the Gold Coast and the olive oil is from New South Wales.

A crucial step in the process is culturing the coconut cream. Beard leaves it in a fermenting tank for 24 hours, which removes the strong coconut flavour and adds a nice tanginess. The result is a creamy, subtly salty spread ideal for slathering on fresh bread or, as Gloftis likes it, on toast with Vegemite.

He’s been using Bu Deli at his venues too, with patrons unable to detect the difference in flavour. “We’ve made moussaka bechamel with it, [we put it] in risottos, we’ve used it with scallops, we’ve put it in a beautiful braised pea and artichoke dish and everyone is loving it,” he says.

One of the butter’s standout qualities is its versatility for baking. Beard uses it in croissants and cakes, and it means restaurants and cafes can use it for vegan pastries. “Every restaurant has to put something on the menu that is vegan or dairy free,” Gloftis says. “To be able to make vegan pastry is a big plus.”

It’s been popular; the brand has sold out at Brisbane’s The Standard Market Company numerous times.

“It’s not $30 a block, it’s $8 and we want families to use it as their everyday product,” says Gloftis. “I think as soon as people eat it, it’s going to be hard for them to buy another product.”

Bu Deli is currently available in select retailers across Queensland, northern NSW and Melbourne.

budeli.world
@budeli.world

This article was updated to clarify a quote from Simon Gloftis about using the butter at his venues.