Over the last few years we have showcased a number of artisans who’ve stumbled on to their calling. This is the story of Pepe Saya where a little serendipity, a serious commitment to quality and a lot of hard work have combined to create an exceptional product.
After a career in recruitment, Pierre Issa switched gears completely after the good woman behind the man bemoaned the lack of good quality fresh desserts in the market. He created Homemade Fine Foods. Pannacotta, Tiramisu, Crumbles and Mousse all made without preservatives, artificial colours and flavours and sold fresh not frozen.
As the saying goes ‘If you’re left with lemons … ‘, so when Pierre was left with 200 litres of cream just before the Christmas break a few years ago, he made the fortuitous decision to try his hand at butter making. The first batch was a disaster, but when he discovered that no one was making artisanal butter in Australia, he learnt the time consuming process of making cultured butter and named his new company Pepe Saya: an amalgam of his childhood nickname and his imaginary ‘happy’ place.
Pepe Saya butter is made using cream from 100% pasture fed cows from Allansford Victoria and from Picton in NSW. These velvety, bright yellow (due to the grass the contented cows munch on) creams are never mixed – your single-origin butter carries a sticker that identifies the provenance.
After receiving pasteurised cream direct from the farm, it is ripened for 10 days to two weeks, inoculated with a lactic culture, fermented and then aged again before churning into butter. Murray River Pink Salt Flakes and Olsson’s Fine Pacific Dairy Salt are the only additions. The butter is then washed with filtered water to remove the buttermilk and kneaded by hand. After packaging, the butter is sent fresh to restaurants and retailers – it’s never stored or frozen. The result: pure and delicious culinary artistry.
Served at some of Australia’s top restaurants including Aria, Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney and Melbourne, Black by Ezard, Manfredi’s Bells at Killcare and Pearl Café, Pepe Saya butter is now also served on Qantas First Class. This year the ladies of the CWA Tea Room at the Sydney Easter Show got in on the act slathering the good stuff on scones as part of the CWA Devonshire tea.
Pepe has now added other pure, handmade products to the range – Crème Anglaise, Mascarpone, Buttermilk, Crème Fraiche, and Ghee. For a list of retailers –http://www.pepesaya.com.au