Blackberry Honey Butter | The French, Cultured Butter, and Breakfast

butter with french bread and coffee

Breakfast in France is quite different from its American counterpart; the classic French breakfast is a simple Spartan affair.  Le petit déjeuner (breakfast) is typically a light meal consisting of tartines (slices of bread) served with coffee or hot chocolate for the children.  Although fruit and yogurt are slowly becoming more popular breakfast choices, there’s no chance you’ll find eggs or pancakes at the table.

The French favorite at breakfast time remains the baguette which is at its best when still warm and crusty, straight from the bakery, slathered with butter and jam.  Fresh baguette is often bought early in the morning at the neighborhood boulangerie just before breakfast, or in a pinch yesterday’s baguette is sliced and toasted.

blackberry sauce with honey, butter and french bread

Contrary to the enduringly popular belief, croissants are not a daily breakfast for most French families.  Fresh pastries like croissants and pains au chocolats are usually reserved for the weekends or special occasions like when on vacation.

What makes a simple breakfast like tartines sing is the quality of the ingredients, and nothing quite compares to French butter.   Smooth, rich and creamy with a sweet subtle tang, it is spectacular.  It has a golden hue, caramelized nutty flavor and a luxuriously smooth texture.

cultured butter with butter knife

The distinctive flavor derives from the nature of the cream from which it’s made, and from the bacteria indigenous to the dairies where it’s produced. Just as milk inoculated with bacteria yields yogurt, so cream cultured by certain bacteria takes on a form and quality different than in its virgin state. The resulting cultured cream is nuttier and more flavorful than the sweet cream from which most mass-produced butter is made.

Culturing cream is also the first step in making fresh homemade butter.  Making cultured butter is remarkably easy, all it takes is the best purest cream you can find, a few spoonfuls of yogurt, and time. The cream matures for 12 to 24 hours to allow for full development of flavor.  In a day’s time, you will have a thick rich cultured cream, from which the resulting butter is so silky and sweet that it’s tempting to eat it by the spoon.

blackberry honey butter and cultured butter


Less sweet than jam, more substantial than plain butter, blackberry honey butter is a delicate marriage of flavors.   The taste is soft and subtle and the texture light yet luscious.  Plump blackberries add sweetness, depth and a jewel-like color to the butter.  I’m smitten with this silky, not-too-sweet butter with personality; it has a bit of edge a smidgen of sass.  It’s voluptuous and the perfect match for those morning tartines; a truly joyful way to start the day.

blackberry honey butter on bread

Kulsum, of Journey Kitchen has graciously invited me to share a breakfast recipe with her readers. Kulsum blogs about modern and traditional Indian cuisine intertwined with her witty accounts of the humorous everyday trials of love and marriage.  She is a dear friend and talented blogger so please join me at Journey Kitchen where I am sharing the recipe for my Blackberry Honey Butter, but before you go, tell me:

What do you like to eat for breakfast?


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  1. says

    This is just gorgeous Sylvie!! ANd now you’ve got me craving a baguette for breakfast.

    I lived in Germany for a great deal of my childhood (not France, but still overseas) and their breakfast was quite different also. More of a continental type deal. Hard rolls with spreadable swiss, butter, maybe some yogurt or a danish. Very good!!

  2. says

    This butter looks divine! My morning meals are varied everyday….eggs… oatmeal… pancakes…smoothies…avocado toast…and, yes, sometimes just coffee and toast w/ butter and honey or jam. There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee with buttery toast!

  3. says

    How wonderful to share how to make this beautiful butter. I am definitely going to give the plain a try, and maybe the blackberry honey version too!

  4. says

    Beautiful colour and I had no idea it was so easy to make cultured butter, which I adore! It is about $8 a pound here, so not something I buy often…

    Thank you once again Sylvie!

  5. says

    My daughter lived in Paris for years and I remember my breakfasts there well. Exactly as you describe. Omelets were for lunch or dinner.
    Luckily, there is a French bakery nearby. Not as good as being in France, but pretty darn good. The fruit butters are delicious.

  6. Nan Gummelt says

    Wish wish I could walk to get a fresh baguette every morning!! That’s what I’d have for breakfast! ….with your excellent butter of course!

  7. says

    This butter sounds absolutely amazing! Blackberries & honey blended in fresh butter spread on a slice of warm baguette… what’s not to love? Thank you for the recipe, cant wait to indulge!

  8. says

    Your story here reminds me of how David Lebovitz in Paris stashes his bread in the back of this freezer for cases of emergencies as bakeries there tend to shut in the oddest days and hours. Breakfast for Asians, as you may have gathered, can range from soupy noodles with dumplings to buttered toasts with half-boiled eggs.

    Making compound butter with something sweet and tart like this blackberry sauce is a novelty to me but what a great idea!

    • says

      Yes, they also close up shop to take their holiday once a year. And it’s often many of them all at once and for two weeks or more!

  9. says

    I definitely prefer a more simple European-style breakfast to your typical heavy American affair. Honestly pancakes and eggs are more of a lunch item I think! This butter is absolutely gorgeous – I have made my own butter before but certainly not with this method. I am very excited to taste how it turns out!

  10. says

    A simply lovely post, Sylvie. I forget sometimes how easy it is to make your own butter. Used to do it regularly but have gotten out of the habit. I think it’s high time I renewed the weekly butter-making ritual. And I just happen to have some blackberries left in the freezer from last summer. Hmmm…guess I know what I’m making this weekend, huh?

  11. says

    This is so my kind of breakfast! and this blackberry honey butter sounds amazing. I can’t handle anything too sweet for breakfast so I like that you have it nicely balanced. Thanks for sharing this.

  12. says

    You’ve said a mouthful with ‘there’s nothing like French butter’. It goes beyond cultured cream even. It’s unmatchable. Where’s my passport? GREG

  13. says

    You just took me back to being sixteen in France living off the most amazing baguettes while I was on vacation. Your butter is simply stunning Sylvie, I can’t wait to try it soon.

  14. says

    Your gorgeous photos make me want to go out and grab some baguette! Love the idea of blackberry butter, yummy! As far as breakfast goes, I can’t live without a bowl of Müsli prepared with yogurt and fresh fruit. And a cup of herbal tea for a good start into the day.

  15. says

    I’m completely craving the blackberry honey butter right now. Your photos are gorgeous, but I especially love the 2nd one – with the bread and knife. Beautiful.

  16. says

    As I already wrote on Kulsum’s blog, what a fantastic post! Loved learning more about cultured butter and French breakfast. Can’t believe it’s so easy to make your own cultured butter — gotta try this!

  17. says

    Your post and pictures got me into a dream world where I am savoring the warm baguette and that delicious looking blackberry honey butter. As I mentioned in Kulsum’s blog, I can’t wait to make the cultured butter at home. Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful information/tips in your blog. They are practical and helpful.

  18. Kate says

    I grew up in France and enjoyed tartine every morning with cafe au lait. My fav was with apricot jam french style – meaning there were whole apricots in a transparent syrup. A perfect combination of a bit sweet and a bit tart with fresh butter (although we usually had a pain ordinaire not baguette). The quality of butter combined with the distinct way of making ham makes the baguette au jambon (ham on a baguette) my favorite street food when I am back visiting.

  19. says

    I love love LOVE this! I made butter as a child once and I’ve never forgotten how wonderful it was to eat something that you produced from scratch.

    As for breakfast, I adore some good smoked fish, but I am also always up for a fresh scone or muffin.

  20. says

    Once I started eating cultured butter, sweet cream butter could not compare. With the blackberry & honey you have me completely smitten.

  21. says

    This is brilliant Sylvie! Well explained and illustrated. The end product just gorgeous. You’ve managed to elevate butter to the heavens :)

  22. says

    Gorgeous article Sylvie. Your cultured butter looks gorgeous, and has a lovely pinkish purple hue from the blackberries.

    My typical breakfast is rye bread with quinoa toasted and served with vegemite (I am Australian after all) and a cup of green tea. Occasionally, on really cold days I have porridge with a dollop of honey.

  23. says

    Sylvie Thank you so much for the gorgeous guest post! As for my breakfast? I guess I can pretty much love everything as long as someone else is making it for me. Not a morning person and I not really charged up enough during breakfast. But I can never say no to butter on toast(baguette is even better) and Indian crisped flat bread (with ghee) with my masala chai!

  24. says

    Hi Sylvie! This is my first visit to your blog and I came here from Kulsum’s site. I’m really happy to find your beautiful blog and became a new follower of yours. :-) I really wish I can try this butter. Looks awesome….

  25. says

    A french breakfast sounds more my type of breakfast than an American one.
    And your blackberry-honey butter looks really delicious.

  26. says

    I used to be always on the run in the morning and skip breakfast, now, I enjoy my time with everyone around the table at breakfast time.
    French breakfast sounds great and you’re blackberry honey butter is just amazing :)

  27. says

    Wow Sylvie! That’s quite a beautiful butter you’ve created. I’m a cereal girl myself although I also occasionally have a bagel or toast with a cup of coffee/tea as well. Love Kulsum’s blog!

  28. says

    Beautiful butter! I agree the French butter is absolutely spectacular… the Dutch butter is a close second, I think. The blackberry addition is just so sophisticated.

    I grew up in a French-educated Middle Eastern family – we often ate fresh baguette with homemade jam and butter for breakfast on days we didn’t have a breakfast mezze. So many beautiful memories that you’ve revived for me here.

  29. says

    Food anthropology is a fascinating subject. French breakfast is a simple fare, but you are right, all the ingredients are perfect. I love the idea of blackberry butter – there are wild blackberries growing along the lane that leads to my Dad’s cottage in Serbia, and I think that I just might try to make it.
    I am always so smitten by your photos:) Thanks for feeding my eyes:)

  30. says

    I love that rich color on the butter. :)

    For breakfast, I’m actually on a crepe kick. I let the batter sit overnight in the fridge, then whip up three little crepes in the morning. Dust with powdered sugar, I eat them with a cup of black coffee before I’m out the door for the day. If I have time, I’ll also grab a couple of strawberries from the yard. C’est parfait!


  31. says

    I love the simplicity of breakfasts in France – and you are so right: it all comes down to outstanding ingredients. French butter is one of those things hat I think everybody should try before they die – I love the huge lumps of it on sale at markets, studded with flakes of fleur de sel! Your butter looks fantasticaly tempting – love the colour in that final shot :)

  32. says

    My-Oh-My…This is simply beautiful Sylvie! I really want to try this cultured butter-Sounds delightful.
    We Argentinians have a similar breakfast;warm slices of toasted french baguette with butter spread and ‘our ever present’ Dulce de Leche :)

    Lovely clicks,



  33. says

    We’ve just returned from a week in Brittany where we took huge pleasure in wandering to the boulangerie and buying croissants for us and pan au chocolats for the children. I agree with you about French butter – it is so good that a simple thing like bread and butter becomes something to sing about.
    At home we like eggs, I like some protein in the morning. The children always clamour for cereal which is so British, but I try and restrict them to every other morning.
    Your blackberry honey butter sounds divine, I’ve never seen anything like it before, and your photos are beautiful.

  34. says

    I agree with it all and I have grown to truly believe that the French breakfast is the best! And love compound butters like this and yours is simply beautiful and mouthwatering! I’m on to it!

  35. says

    Excellent post! Being brought up un a “continental” culture, my breakfast is what you describe so well…I just can’t eat anything else! but nothing beats French bread ! I skip butter for diet reasons, and I just add a spoonful of jam! and that’s it!

  36. says

    french breakfasts are the best. I can eat a baguette with pate spread all over it and I’m happy. this butter looks especially wonderful. Kulsum is wonderful. She is very generous in her friendship and spirit. She is a very rare young lady.

  37. says

    I’ve never had breakfast in France but I like the idea of no eggs! haha :)
    Your blackberry honey butter looks amazing. I wish I had this for breakfast right now. YUM!
    I’m a bagel lover. That’s my breakfast of choice!

  38. says

    I could live off a French breakfast…fresh baguettes and good butter! I would miss the traditional fare too, pancakes and eggs are favs also. 😉

  39. says

    French bread, butter and homemade jam, perhaps with a slice of cheese, sounds utterly perfect. With a cup of expresso of course.

  40. Traci says

    I’m so in awe of your blog. I don’t know why I’ve never made my own butter. I guess because I’ve always been satisfied with tub margarine. I do love to bake so maybe I will give making my own butter a try. It might be fun for the kids to help.

    As for breakfasts, I alternate between eggs and toast or cereal. French toast, pancakes and such are reserved for the weekend.

    This is my first time on your blog and I’m hooked! Thanks so much for the lovely prose and photography.

  41. says

    I don’t need bread or croissants, just give me that blackberry butter. ARE YOU SERIOUS?! This is a must make for the weekend! Berries of any sort are one of my favorite snacks combine with butter and all one needs is a spoon.

  42. says

    I would LOVE to try making my own butter! Nothing beats it spread thickly on toast for breakfast. Failing that, creamy avocado and chilli always works a treat :-)

  43. says

    I’ve always had a thing for bread and butter as a way to start my day. Your photos validated my obsession and raised the bar a bit. Making my own butter was never a consideration until now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  44. says

    So simple yet so beautiful. I love bread, butter and jam. My ideal start to a day! Thank you for sharing with me tonight. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog! I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  45. says

    I adore butter. We buy this fabulous unsalted from the local laiterie, who make it and then press it into beautiful edelweiss moulds. It’s almost sweet to taste.

    For breakfast at the moment I have some tresse au beurre with the lovely mountain butter and homemade raspberry jam. I go through breakfast phases so I’m sure it will change at some point soon.

    I’d love to try making butter at home – blackberry butter sounds very special.

  46. Sasha says

    I’d like to make this lovely cultured butter for Christmas. Does it have to be in that temperature range the entire time or is it okay if it cools a little overnight (and it just takes a bit longer??)
    Thanks :)

    • says

      Hi Sasha, The important thing is just to let it rest until the mixture is thick so if the temperature is more than 75F it will take about 12 hours to culture but if the temperature is less than 70F it may take closer to 24 hours. Just test it and see if it has thickened enough before using it. It should be the consistency of a loose yogurt. Hope that helps!

      • Sasha says

        I think I had that consistency,but when I whipped it after refrigerating, it would not break at all! Any idea what I did wrong?

        • says

          Hmm, here are a few thoughts that come to mind: it might have needed a little more time culturing (you can try it up to 36 hours) or that it needed more time whipping (you can try it in a food processor as well for more power), or you could try straining the mixture in a cheesecloth lined strainer before whipping it. It might take some time to break but it should look like curds of butter sitting in a creamy whitish/ yellow liquid. Did you start with heavy cream that was ultra-pasteurized or a yogurt with stabilizers by any chance, that may affect the results as well.

          • Sasha says

            Thanks, I’ll try again sometime. (I had it for 36 hours, heavy cream and yoghurt organic and without additives. There was the tiniest amount of liquid at the bottom, though.Or I didn’t whip long enough. I was getting worried for my (old) hand-mixer and there was just nothing happening at all!)

            And thank you for your beautiful site, honestly. I feel the care in the photographs and the recipes and your descriptions. It’s as much a delight and balm as all of the food when it’s on the table. And I’ve loved all of your recipes!

          • says

            It sounds like it might just have needed a little more time then, if you have a food processor it might be faster that way next time. And thank you for the nice compliment about my site, that’s really very kind of you to say and I’m glad to hear that you’ve been enjoying the recipes.

  47. Robert says

    Does anyone know if cultured butter is offered in stores (supermarkets) in France? What is it called? How will I know it.
    Thank you, Sylvie, for an enticing post.

  48. says

    Hi Robert,

    Yes cultured butter is actually fairly common in most of Europe. In France it will go under the name beurre de culture or à l’ancienne and is often from Normandie which is know for it’s wonderful dairy products. Hope that helps!