We struggled with whether to place this article in our Food or Arts section. In the end, because of the immense craftsmanship, thoughtful design, and dedication to presentation we saw from the Butter • mere team, we decided it was more fitting for this article to be in the Art section.
The Butter • mere team was kind enough to share a taste of their new Christmas collection. We would say that enjoying these sweets were of a soothing and joyous - if Christmas were a flavour, this would be it.
PILLOW SET || Light & Fluffy with Embedded Flavour Gems
We began our photo shoot with their Christmas Pillow Set. The textures are light and fluffy, with melt in your mouth flavour gems hidden inside. The pillow cakes are sweet yet light, the outer layer giving way to the burst of flavour in lychee rose raspberry, pineapple coconut, blueberry lavender and more!
What's inside each of the cute pillow cakes?
o Santa – lychee rose raspberry
o Reindeer – chocolate banana
o Snowman – pineapple coconut
o Snowflake – blueberry lavender
o Wreath – mocha
The pillow cakes are sizeable enough to share, so four friends can each share a bite of every flavour!
You can also purchase mini chocolate bars, 10 pieces per bag, containing 5 different flavours. For their chocolate products, Buttermere uses premium Cacao Barry chocolate, established in 1842, with over 175 years of experience pioneering creative products using chocolate.
CHRISTMAS CAKES || Thoughtful & Innovative Flavours + Presentation
Now onto their featured cakes for the holiday season. Take note of how the team considers the ingredients to balance rich and intense flavours with light and tangy counterparts. Such as chocolate mousse X blueberry cheesecake, chocolate cake x mango compote x orange mousse, the list goes on. The team has thoughtfully crafted memorable flavours that are not overpowering. Share one of their holiday treats this year to experience how pastries can give you a warm, fuzzy feeling.
The Snowy Ride is our absolute favourite because of the innovative taste, texture and ingredients. The cake made with yoghurt mousse is light and refreshing, sweet yet tangy. The yoghurt mousse is balanced with the raspberry crunch layer at the bottom of the cake, and the cherries and berries compote layered on top ties all the flavours together. You won't feel guilty eating 2 or move slices of this artisan creation!
Mirror cakes have been all the craze, and this is truly one of a kind with its mesmerizing array of colours. Just a look at the design reminds us of the festive season.
One has to spend time admiring the craftsmanship that goes into the presentation of the Yule Log cake. The chocolate pieces are carefully placed to create the log texture, delicate gold flakes and hand drawn stars complete the festive look.
Watching pastry chefs at work is an awe-inspiring experience. Their meticulous attention to detail to ensure every piece is in the right place for a perfect presentation, hours spent dotting on decorative spots onto each of the pillow cakes, and days, if not weeks, simply testing to see which ingredients are the best match.
BUTTER • MERE || Now & The Future
Now, let us begin our conversation with the Butter • mere team on their business, success, and future hopes.
Pendulum : P
Butter • mere : B [Jamie]
P : What gave your team the idea for Butter • mere? Was baking a hobby of yours prior to starting Butter • mere?
B : The Idea of Butter.mere came from the street that I grew up on. I have many memories of this place and always loved how it sounds. So, when I was thinking about the store name, Butter.mere was the first one to jump into my head. The lion symbolizes my ambition in the pastry world.
Baking was not my hobby at all, and I was never into it. However, I love challenging myself. After graduating from Simon Fraser University, I decided to go for something I have never tried before. Luckily, pastry-making turned into my passion and transformed into a career. I am glad I choose this path. It is actually more than just baking. It is like discovering a new planet. I am eager to learn and to sharpen my skills.
For Sweki, baking has always been one of her passions. After gaining an Interactive Art Degree from Simon Fraser University, she decided to get proper training at the Pacific Institutes of Culinary Arts. Now, she combines her graphic and photography skills with pastry-making.
We were classmates in Pacific Institutes of Culinary Arts. After gaining some experience through working at various restaurants, we decided to work together to bring something new and creative to Vancouver pastry industry.
P : Where do you see Butter • mere in 3 years?
B : Our goal for 2018 is to find a fixed location! We will be launch with a seating area, and the most exciting news is we will be teaching semi private classes in the future. I want people not just to enjoy the taste, but to also uncover the magic behind it.
P : Why do you do what you do? What draws you to dedicate time and effort to Butter • mere?
B : At first, I was practicing some recipes from pastry school at home, and I didn’t want to waste anything, so I gave them to friends and family to try. Surprisingly they really loved it. Soon after I received a lot of referrals. However, I realized there there's still lots to learn for me to improve my pastry-making skills, and also it's important to find a proper location to make the pastries. I started to invest in myself to attend master classes all over the world. I like how people enjoy our cakes and give us feedback. Of course, it is impossible to satisfy everyone, but we will try our best. There is always room for improvement. Sweki and I have invested a lot of time and effort since we started Butter • mere together, and so far, I think we are doing a pretty good job!
P : Tell us about the members on the team - names, previous job, hobbies, your favourite cafe and dessert! Plus a fun fact on each team member.
B : My previous job was a pastry cook at The Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler and then I was referred to Mosquito dessert bar to work as a pastry chef. My hobbies include travelling, kickboxing, and listening to lounge music. My favourite dessert is the moist apple cake from Pure Bread.
My business partner, Sweki was a pastry chef at Coast restaurant by Glowbal Group. She likes to read, watch movies, and enjoys photography. Her favourite café is Chez Christophe and she loves chocolate cakes. We are very excited that she is going to be a mother next summer!
Justine is our classmate and friend from pastry school. Her previous job was a pastry cook at the River Rock Casino. She likes to learn new languages, especially Korean, and also to explore gourmet food. Her favourite café is Babean in Korea, and her favourite dessert is the London fog cake from Butter.mere. Her fun fact is that she's getting married next spring!
Honey. Her previous job was chef de partie at the Sheraton Wall Centre and pastry chef in Breka bakery. Her hobbies include playing volleyball and snowboarding. Her favourite pastry is the almond croissant from Thomas Haas.
Two new team members joining the team are Amy and Yurique. Yay!
P : Where do you get inspiration for the various cake and pastry designs?
B : We get our inspiration from researching online, reading recipe books, and taking master classes. We want to combine modern French pastry techniques with Asian flavours to challenge Vancouver’s diverse and vibrant culinary scene. Also, we launched an inventive program for our staffs. They can develop their own cake, and if it sells, we give out a bonus for their creation. I really love to see them invest time to think, research and create. For me, Butter.mere is not just a pastry shop, it is also a place where they can express themselves through their works.
P : What is the favourite cake or pastry you have created so far and what made it so memorable?
B : I love our pillow sets for special holidays and events. So far no one is doing anything similar in Vancouver. They are not just our signature items and also Buttermere’s tradition!
Matcha lava is one of our signature cakes. This cake consists of matcha sponge and toasted milk cream in the middle. It always surprises people when they slice it open.
P : We see from your Instagram that you have traveled to sharpen your skill set, what courses have you taken and what have you learned in the past year?
B : This year I have taken some classes in Las Vegas:
1. April 2017, with Melissa Coppel, Intensive Chocolate Workshop
2. October 2017, with Dinara Kasko, Modern Cakes Techniques
It was an eye-opening experience with these two amazing chefs. I learned not only the techniques, but also a lot of theories, knowledge, and work ethic from them. However, the best part of going to master classes is to meet people who truly love this industry and openly shares ideas and thoughts.
In 2018, I will be going to another master class with Cedric Grolet to learn Glamorous Parisian Pastries.
P : What learnings / life lessons do you have to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start doing their own thing?
B : When Sweki and I started Buttermere together, we underestimated how much stress and work it will be! It definitely takes a lot of time, responsibility, patience and effort to make everything work. I think communication and respect are the most important keys for entrepreneurs. We are blessed to have each other to go through the good and the bad. If you want to start your own business, you need to be prepared for every possible situation. Most importantly, I think in this industry, it is important to hold back your ego, otherwise it is impossible for the business to grow.
Editor's Note: A big thank you to the passionate Butter • mere team for taking the time to share their innovative pastry creations with us. They are truly achieving something different and we believe they will soon explore the worldwide spotlight and be break out artists from the Vancouver culinary scene. All the best to this ambitious team!