European butter was recently put under the spotlight by one of Dubai’s leading chefs, Waseem Aleisa, at an exclusive event hosted by CNIEL – The French Dairy Board and the European Union.
Taking place at Le Méridien Mina Seyahi’s Latest Recipe restaurant, Chef Waseem conducted a workshop on compound butters, showcasing different recipes and flavours such as zaatar, date and cardamom. The hands-on session was followed by a private dinner at BABA, the latest addition to The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi’s dining offering, where Chef Waseem’s exclusive creation, a roasted poultry supreme with zaatar butter, was the highlight of the dinner.
Speaking at the event, Chef Waseem said: “My cooking style is best described as classic with a creative modern twist. Adding butter immediately heightens the flavour and enhances the dish. I use European butter in all my dishes, unless it’s a speciality dish that has to be made with olive oil, for example.”
In addition to being taught how to create the three compound butters, attendees at the event had the opportunity to ask Chef Waseem a range of questions, including his first memories of cooking with butter, he said:
“My first memories of butter were on my grandmother’s farm where she used to make her own. The process was completely new to me so she taught me how to make it and to this day I can still remember the first butter I made.”
In recent years the popularity of European butter has grown in the region, a total of 4,294 tonnes was exported to the UAE in 2018, at a value of over AED95.7 million, denoting a CAGR of 13.1% since 2010.
European butter exports have also proven popular in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Kuwait, with the countries witnessing a CAGR of 21.1%, 5.8% and 10.3% respectively from 2010.
Marie-Laure Martin, International Project Manager from CNIEL, said: “The evolving tastes of Middle East and Levant residents and tourists has aided the growth of butter exports to the region, and has encouraged many exporters of butter from Europe to sit up and take notice of the opportunities within the market, and further enhancing the variety on offer.”