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20 Jun, 2007 03:41

Buttering up the Kremlin

It is known and loved all over Russia, and is even thought to be served within the Kremlin. Russia's best butter is produced near the city of Vologda, in the country's north. Butter is what the region is arguably most famous for and its quality is renown

But to understand exactly why the Vologda butter has its own particular flavour one must take a closer look at the process. The butter production process begins at dairy farms.

The farm Russia Today visited is not ordinary. Unlike many farms, the cows are not allowed to graze outside – instead it is strictly indoors only. It means they can be fed on specially cultivated grass to ensure they produce only the best milk.

“This farm was built 3 years ago, and now it's working at its maximum capacity. It's quite modern and large with technology from Sweden,” said Gennadiy Shilovskiy, the Farm Chairman.

Each one of the 300 cows on the farm is carefully looked after, even given their own nickname. Special equipment is used to milk the cows, making life easier for the workers

“I like my job. All we have to do now is wash the cow before and after milking, and the machine will do everything else,” rejoiced Eduard Shamarin, dairyman.

Nearly 8000 litres of milk are collected there every day before going on to make butter, yoghurt and cheese.

The milk firstly is cooled and cleaned for about 24 hours before moving on to the production facility where milk arrives from around 30 different farms. Then the special manufacturing process begins.

The process has several stages including mixing, heating, cutting before being divided up into individual portions and packed. But of course the real difference can only be found in the taste.

“The secret of our butter lies in the careful following of traditions we have been using at the factory for decades. Our specialists insist on keeping the technology to produce a real Vologda butter, with its unique and famous flavour,” shared the inside Svetlana Fedorova, Production Manager.

But manufacturing has not always been so efficient. In the museum dedicated to butter-making, people can find out how it was produced in previous centuries which back then involved lots of hard craft and muscle power.

Being a symbol of pride for people living in Vologda, for many Russians up and down the country Vologda butter is a sought-after mealtime essential.