The Great Buttery Bake Off

Amateurs and professionals alike will join together in celebration of the humble buttery
Amateurs and professionals alike will join together in celebration of the humble buttery

A North-east food group is launching the first World Buttery Championship to find the world's best traditional buttery.

Slow Food Aberdeen City and Shire are organising the event, which will be held on June 16 at NESCOL’s Aberdeen City Campus.

The competition will pit baker against baker in order to crown the best buttery in the world.

Amateurs and professionals alike will join together in celebration of the humble buttery, a unique breakfast item associated with Aberdeen City and Shire.

Outwith the region, the buttery (also known as a rowie or roll) is virtually unheard of, but historically it was taken onboard boats by fishermen sailing from ports up and down the North East coast.

The traditional buttery was a crispy, flaky and buttery, salted bread product which was favoured by local boats because of its high fat and salt content.

Since then the buttery has changed significantly, as event coordinator Martin Gillespie explains: “Over a number of years the traditional buttery recipe has been altered to the stage where it has become almost unrecognisable.

"In many cases, the commercial production of butteries has seen the original ingredients of butter and lard replaced with margarine and palm oil. Not only does this affect the taste and texture of the buttery but the use of non-sustainable palm oil has a negative environmental impact.”

These changes have prompted Slow Food to classify the traditional North East delicacy as an ‘endangered heritage food’ in their Ark of Taste.

Wendy Barrie, Slow Food Scotland’s leader for the Ark of Taste describes the project as a valuable record of our food heritage stating: “The Ark of Taste was created by Slow Food to catalogue the existence of endangered foods and associated food culture lest they are lost or forgotten forever.”

The World Buttery Championship has been launched to highlight the buttery’s new status and to raise awareness of the Slow Food organisation.

Martin Gillespie says,“We are delighted that the buttery has been entered into the Ark of Taste as it ensures that we do not lose or forget the culture and traditions surrounding it.

"With the World Buttery Championship we hope to promote the traditional buttery recipe in order to help preserve the heritage of the buttery and to remind people what a buttery should really taste like.”

The competition judged by local professionals and Slow Food Aberdeen City & Shire committee members will take place on June 16 at NESCOL’s Aberdeen City Campus and is open to buttery lovers of any skill level.

Applicants can apply on the website where full details of the competition can be found.