It’s butter - but better
Everybody who ate at the Carters’ dinner table really, really liked Gavin’s flavoured butter.
For years he ignored one friend in particular, who kept urging him to put it into a tub and on supermarket shelves.
Last summer, with a bit of time on his hands, he started thinking.
“I made up a small batch of it and decided I would put it on my Instagram page. I sat there for like an hour looking at it before I even posted the picture.”
He finally did it, telling himself he had nothing to lose except “maybe ten tubs of butter that you’re going to use anyway”.
“I posted it and the response was unbelievable.”
Gavin’s Butter was born. As with many small businesses it is also a love story.
“We got married at 23 and this year will make 23 years we’ve been married,” Mrs Carter said. “[On our wedding day] his mom [Marie Carter] gave him some really good advice. She said, ‘Gavin, whatever you do make your wife happy. I don’t know how you’re going to do it, but do it.’
“I lost my job in 2016 and basically in between I’ve had little odd jobs but Gavin has always been so supportive. At some point he was like, ‘I feel like our family is better supported with you here; it’s almost like you’re the glue for us. If there’s any way I can keep you home I’m certainly going to try and do that.’”
She continued: “Last year the butter business just came about and now that it’s really taken off he’s like ‘Honey, I think we can really do this.’ I’m just so thankful for his support.”
The Carters purchase herbs to supplement those they pick from their own garden. As they do not make butter themselves, they spent a lot of time researching a brand that offered “the best product for the most reasonable price” and could also pair well with any number of ingredients.
Mr Carter, who has a full-time job with the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service, usually comes up with the recipes and puts everything together. Mrs Carter does most of the prep work; their 19-year-old son Sage helps wherever he is needed.
White Wine & Shallot, Thyme & Rosemary and Roasted Red Pepper & Oregano are among the 12 flavours on offer. On social media, people claim to have used the butters on everything from pancakes to chicken. One woman lamented over not being able to use it as toothpaste.
“Gavin ran some ideas by his sister and she came up with ideas for different flavours,” Mrs Carter said. “We had one friend from overseas who [suggested a] honey-garlic butter with bacon in it. So that’s how the honey, bacon and garlic butter and the honey-garlic butter came about; so just getting feedback from different people has really helped too.
“Gavin likes to cook so he [is often] in the kitchen [experimenting]. It’s how the blue cheese butter came about for putting on steaks. It was just testing the boundaries and seeing what really works.”
The flavours are made using either unsalted butter or a plant-based ‘butter’. Fans are clamouring for the tubs on Instagram, at M Soares and Son in Pembroke and at the Plant-Based Vegan Grocery in Southampton. The Carters have also partnered with Island Fresh, putting tubs into their recipe boxes.
“I was just amazed there was so much interest in this product that I had kind of just been whipping up for myself over the last few years,” Mr Carter said. “But that’s basically how it got started.”
Demand over the Christmas holiday “was absolutely crazy” but for the most part business has been steady.
“Really the phone hasn’t stopped since and that was probably back in June or July,” Mr Carter said. “We’ve kind of grown organically I guess you could say. There have been waves where people were buying it left right and centre. The interest has been astronomical. It is definitely something I didn’t anticipate way back in June but the response has been really, really great.
“Once I get the right components, maybe one or two taste tests and then I’ve got it. There are a few flavours that have to be balanced over time but it doesn’t take long. To create new flavours and see people enjoying those flavours, it really does humble us. This started from something that was just for us.”
Both Carters know their way around the kitchen but Mrs Carter stepped up her skills last year with help from YouTube.
“I started following so many different people: a lady from Jamaica, a lady who’s Thai and Australian mixed, just to understand the concept behind their cooking and the seasonings and the different flavours that they bring out.”
Despite not liking spicy food she was thrilled to learn how a butter seasoned with spices could easily transform noodles into a Thai dish, and surprised by how much she enjoyed the taste.
“That really helped me in the kitchen and broadened my view beyond the basic traditional Bermudian cuisine of mac ‘n’ cheese or peas and rice.
“It just takes the guesswork out. When the person on YouTube is saying you need this pepper or this spice – it’s already in the butter. I just need to put that in the pan and mix it around.”
Look for Gavin’s Butter on Instagram: gavins_butter. To place an order telephone 732-2887