This is something I heard about a month or so ago, but am only just getting round to telling you. Shame on me! Just to remind you – Bresse is a region in the east of France between the Saône and the Jura.
Here is the official communiqué: the decree setting out the specifications for Bresse Butter AOC as published in the Journal Officiel on 10th May 2012. It's the third butter to gain an AOC.
This follows on from the approval given by the INAO on 26 January 2012.
Bresse butter is made from Bresse cream and is produced in a churn. It is recognisable from its light yellow colour which can vary through the season, being more yellow in Spring and Autumn, as well as by its floral and light odour. Bresse butter melts easily on the tongue and has a nutty taste in the mouth.
Production is concentrated in the departments of Ain, Jura and Saône-et-Loire. This traditional area for butter production prides itself particularly in its floral diversity as well as in maize production, two elements advantageous for cattle feed and which give character to Bresse butter. It's a mixed feeding system which, by the presence of maize, leads to a milk that is high in fat content, and through the grass in the diet, a milk that has a sustained colour.
Bresse butter is highly regarded by chefs and pastry cooks. Since the 19th century, it has been a favoured ingredient in the cuisine of Bresse and the Lyon area.
AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée = PDO Protected Denomination of Origin) is given to a product when all the stages in its production are based on a recognised "know how" in a particular geographic area.
Once the specifications are established and recognised, the dossier is sent to the European Commission for registration as an AOP. For all products given this designation, monitoring by independent organisations ensures that the set conditions and the geographical source of butter production are respected.
434 tonnes of Bresse butter were produced in 2010.