Fazana Ibrahim has always loved cooking. Translating her passion into her venture Better Butter, Fazana explains that butter wasn’t the first idea she had in mind.
“I was very good at cookie making and when I came back to Sri Lanka in 2000 I wanted to start a cookie business. I had made the business plan and everything, but I started my degree and also started working fulltime, so I put the cookie business idea aside. And by then so many cookie businesses had come up so I discarded the idea.”
But why butter?
“I used to always make my own garlic butter for my day to day cooking. So whenever a friend invited me for dinner, I used to take different butters over because I used to love trying out differently flavoured butters. And when my friends tried it they used to say that I should market it. But I put it aside because I loved my social service oriented job. After 10 years at the job and after my daughter Sarah left the country for her education, I decided this was the best time to start something on my own since cooking is my passion anyway. I love trying out unusual recipes instead of the conventional, and that’s one of the reasons I thought I should do something related to my passion.”
At present, Fazana has five introductory flavours - Garlic, Mexican chilli, Mojito (non alcoholic), Carrot and Cinnamon, a sweet butter. Garlic and Mexican, she claims are her most popular. The butters are sold in 100g packages made of environmentally friendly products.
“I didn’t want to use plastic packaging. I am a very environmentally conscious person. It may be a downfall for the profit when you don’t use plastic, but I don’t want to do a business against my conscience. Those values are very important to me.”
Fazana is very particular about quality and taste and as someone who enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, she appreciates the use of quality produce in her butters.
“I use fresh ingredients instead of the dry herbs and because of that the shelf life of the butter reduces further. It makes a big difference taste wise including in the appearance of the butter. Which is why I’ve limited it to 100g. Garlic, Mexican and cinnamon butter can be kept for about 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. But mojito because it’s lime based and carrot butter have a limited shelf life. So I would suggest 2 weeks in the refrigerator.”
Fazana had laid out a table with an assortment of breads, pita, cake, crackers and vegetables we could sample with her infused butters. She had also prepared a rice with the Mexican chillie butter, a pasta with garlic butter and sandwiches with the carrot butter. As a huge fan of garlic, I tried out the pasta first and it was love at first taste.
The pasta was perfectly garlic-y thanks to the butter and I couldn’t stop myself from going back for seconds. The mexican chilli butter infused rice too was flavourful and spicy enough to satisfy anyone’s palate. The carrot butter worked well as a spread as is, but Fazana had added it to her egg sandwiches which certainly elevated the taste.
I also tried the the mexican chilli, garlic, mojito and carrot butters with bread. And this is where the butters really shone as they weren’t inhibited by other confounding flavours. The mojito butter had an interesting minty and lime-y tang that I especially enjoyed with the crackers. Fazana also suggested I try the sweet cinnamon butter with butter cake, which was, without a doubt, a match made in heaven. The butters can also be used as dips and we loved how they tasted with the carrots and cucumbers Fazana had quartered.
Fazana’s infused butters were all perfectly balanced in terms of flavour, whether in the spice quotient or the amount of garlic added. This is certainly one of the major selling points for the butters considering it would appeal to anyone. All butters come with serving suggestions listed on the packaging, but Fazana encourages experimentation.
“I have a list of ideas that I want to try out”
Fazana explains of her future plans with Better Butter. She has a lot of ideas in the pipeline and with Christmas looming, she hopes to introduce themed products that would make for ideal gifts.
“I’ve had immense support from my daughters Sarah and Amaarah as well as their friends who worked tirelessly and did everything for me from the costing to the packaging”
”Dush from Belissima went out of his way to help me too. So I have had a really great support system from a lot of unexpected places”.
Place your orders early to avoid disappointment. Fazana typically makes the butters to order as the shelf life of infused butters especially is limited.
Photos Pradeep Dilrukshana