The debate between butter and margarine is as old as the pyramids. (Really! It’s in all those hierogly…okay, no it’s not.) Personally, I always have both on hand: butter for cooking and baking and margarine for spreading on toast, pancakes, waffles, and other baked delights. Both are so ubiquitous in my house that it’s hard to imagine what I’d do without them.
Only then, I had to do without them when a portion of my extended family announced they were (temporarily) giving up dairy. It took me a while to wrap my head around this very foreign concept. Making things doubly confusing was that this announcement came right before a family get-together for which I was supposed to bring dessert.
I’m willing to bet that those of us without food allergies and severe dietary restrictions probably don’t pay much attention to what’s in our food. Outside of checking packages for meat and its byproducts, I had never given any thought to just how much of what’s in the grocery store comes from or contains milk. Well, after my family’s “dairy-free age” began, I had to take notice. Lots of things immediately went off the table, such as cake and brownie mixes, chocolate chips and the like, some glazes and other confections, cream cheese, and, of course, butter and margarine. My search for non-dairy butter substitutes brought me to Melt Organic.
Now, let me first say that Melt Organic is not, not, NOT milk-free. During a stressful round of shopping I basically went for all the “top shelf” non-dairy products in the dairy section, picked several things, and hoped for the best. Once I got everything home, I read the labels more carefully, and good thing too, because I discovered that I couldn’t use Melt. I ended up going with something else I had bought and the Melt just sat in the fridge.
But it didn’t go to waste. After completing everything I needed to for my special non-dairy dessert (whoopie pies, of all things, which were delicious and the recipe for which I’ll share at some point), I decided to start using Melt Organic as my regular margarine. It’s quite good but…different.
Melt Organic (the original “flavor” as it also comes in honey and chocolate), boasts the use of good fats (Omega-3’s and -6’s) from fruits and plants: coconut, palm, flaxseed, canola, and sunflower. And everything’s non-GMO, organic, makes the rainforests happy, etc., etc. On the outside it looks like it’s all good environmentally-speaking. On the inside is a mixture that’s very light, creamy, and spreadable. Its consistency is somewhere between glossy margarine and whipped butter that isn’t fooling anyone about being “smooth.” Not only is it easy to retrieve from the container, but it glides easily over everything from tough toast to delicate and delicious pancakes. So chalk one up to Melt’s consistency – it’s pretty darn good.
But how does it taste? Well, that’s where the “different” comes in, because it tastes like coconut. No flourishes or fanfare, just coconut. Or, that’s the most prominent flavor I get from it anyway. And I’m not talking coconut like a Mounds bar or those furry “coconut”-covered Sno-Balls. I’m talking about a subtle coconut taste that becomes quite noticeable on food without overwhelming flavors, again like toast or pancakes. On those things, plain things, sweet things, it’s delicious. But then again, I like coconut, and I think the taste pairs well with syrups, jams, and honey. The problem comes when using it for something savory. For instance, I used it to make three things for which I regularly use butter and/or margarine: garlic bread, grilled cheese sandwiches, and scrambled eggs. Each turned to be infused with hints of the flavor of coconut, with the most pronounced being the coconut-tinged garlic bread. Again, it didn’t taste like garlic bread topped with coconut shavings, it just had an odd, sweet, and nutty palette that didn’t mix well with the garlic. Not exactly what you want with your spaghetti. I’ve not yet baked with Melt, but I’m not really inclined to as I simply prefer to use real butter when baking.
So Melt Organic in my house wins with sweet but loses with savory. Because of this limitation, it’s probably not something I’d buy again as I’d rather just stick with my all-purpose margarine. Though, cost-wise, it definitely wins out over real non-dairy spreads – a 13-ounce tub me cost $2 on sale [with a coupon], with true non-dairy things costing upwards of $4-$5 for similarly-sized containers. Plus, it does have some health benefits, which is appealing when you start to look at what’s really in margarine. If you fancy trying a unique, healthy (I guess), non-butter spread and you don’t mind the taste of coconut with your marmalade, you might want to give Melt Organic a try (if you can find it on sale, maybe).
Let’s see just how many blogs Cary can put on her roster before going mad! While you’ll find her here on occasion, you’ll more likely to catch her over on United We Game or Geek Force Network; or better yet, working on her own blog about gaming and nostalgia and such, Recollections of Play.