RARELY does butter get so much attention but step into the Myrtleford Butter Factory and you can understand what the fuss is about.
Mother and daughter Bronwyn and Naomi Ingleton (pictured), both chefs, reopened the historic building in 2007 as a restaurant and are now churning out more than 500 kilograms of gourmet butter a week.
It is rich daffodil-coloured and lightly salted with coarse crystals of Mount Zero Pink Lake Salt, dried in a natural lake bed in western Victoria. We start with fresh Milawa bread and hand-churned butter, served with fresh buttermilk ricotta cheese and a roasted head of garlic ($7). It's impossible to stop at one slice and goes well with a fresh watermelon, apple and mint juice ($6.50).
The baked buttermilk ricotta, herb and spinach gnocchi with a creamy garlic, parsley and white wine sauce with parmesan crust ($22) is a delicious indulgence. The peperoni ripieni — peppers stuffed with breadcrumbs, capers, tomato, herbs and local walnuts — on a bed of rocket with salsa verde ($16.50), a side of dad's spuds baked with rosemary and garlic ($7.50) and a glass of Chrismont riesling from the King Valley ($8) proves a great combination.
For dessert, we are united in our selection: the house-made hazelnut honeycomb ice-cream ($3.50 a scoop).
The restaurant is also well known for its lazy breakfasts, offering everything from a three-egg omelette — with double-smoked ham, chives and tallegio cheese ($14.50) — to "the lot" for $21.
Both chefs are advocates of the slow-food movement and the menu features produce from local farmers and boutique producers.
There's also a range of handmade buttermilk soap of various flavours.
You can take home a supply of fresh butter in retro packaging but, be warned, it won't last long because it's seriously good.
Reviewed by Sue Wallace, who was hosted by North East Victoria Tourism.
Myrtleford Butter Factory, 15 Myrtle Street, Myrtleford, phone 5752 2300. Open 8.30am, Thursday to Tuesday. To stay: nearby options include Motel on Alpine (motelonalpine.com), Carawah Ridge Bed and Breakfast (carawahridge.com.au), The Homestead Estate (homesteadestate.com.au).