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Butter, margarine, oil: differences and myths to dispel
Butter, margarine, oil: differences and myths to dispel

In the beginning was the Word. Indeed, in the beginning it was butter. Then all the others came. And so, now we are faced with the distressing dilemma.

Butter? Margarine? Burrolì? Cremolì? Nivea cream?

Ah, how peacefully we lived until a few decades ago, each with its typical fats, namely olive oil for the South and mellow butter for the North. We didn't have many problems and we lived happy.

But then towards the early 1970s the annoyances arrived, at least for the users of butter indefinitely: butter is bad: it contains animal fats, so it increases cholesterol, causes diabetes, obesity and various cardiovascular diseases!”, just to name a few.

Here then are the benches of super filling up with margarine, vegetable fat with a solid consistency, practically a vegetable butter, devoid of any trace of harmful animal fat.

Too bad, however, that after less than a decade of "don't cut, spaaalma" and margarine everywhere, the news begins to circulate: as well margarine is bad. Indeed, it is worse than butter.

But don't worry, just a few years of waiting and Montersino arrives, a talented pastry chef and TV star who has been brewing very personal recipes for years, acting as a preacher of healthiness in a pastry shop surrounded by light.

And what does the handsome Montersino do? He invents you Burrolì, vegetable butter: creamy like butter, and vegetable as only oil can be.

But that's not all: after a few years, that is to say practically now, Cremolì also happens between head and neck! We have not quite understood whether it is the rampant cousin of Burrolì or whether it is always Burrolì in disguise, looking to grab a slice of the market.

In short, in the end between oil, butter, margarine and various -olì endings, it would be worth making some order between fats and fats, or rather between butters and butters, with or without final "–olì".

Perhaps dispelling some false myths after doing it with food in general, fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates, fish, chocolate, oysters, craft beer, salmon, nutrition and conservation.


butter, saucepan
butter, saucepan

Always the main condiment of the regions of Northern Italy, butter has undergone a campaign of demonization since the early 1970s, thanks, it has always been said, to the American industry that tried to push vegetable fats such as margarines.

Accused, as an animal fat, of causing unspeakable damage to health such as an increase in bad cholesterol, diabetes and various cardiovascular diseases, butter has recently enjoyed rehabilitation (thanks also to the publication of The big flat surprise, by the American journalist Nina Teicholz) and has been re-evaluated thanks to its good supply of vitamins A, D, K and E. Dissapore has dedicated several tasting tests to butter (like Ocelli vs. Lurpak).

But be careful: this does not mean that from now on we will be able to gorge on it with a large hand: butter still contains a greater amount of cholesterol than vegetable oil, which is devoid of it, and also has greater quantities of saturated fat.

A fair dose of about twenty grams per day (which will provide about 50 mg of cholesterol, i.e. less than the amount of an average steak) will guarantee us a good supply of vitamins and taste without affecting our health.



Chemically it is an emulsion of water in a fatty substance, together with emulsifiers, such as soy lecithin, which serve to stabilize the emulsion, antifungals and preservatives.

The original goal of margarine was to make a vegetable oil solid, and it met the first needs for healthy and genuine foods born a few decades ago, combining the wholesomeness of vegetable oil with the creamy consistency of butter.

Consistency appreciated not only for the characteristic of spreadability among common palates, but necessary in catering and in particular in pastry, where the solid consistency of a fat, when cold, is indispensable in many preparations.

The most common process for making liquid vegetable oil solid is that of hydrogenation (obtained by blowing in gaseous hydrogen), which however results in the formation of saturated fats and "trans" fats that are harmful to health.

In order to offer a "healthier" product, nowadays non-hydrogenated margarines are also available on the market, obtained not by insufflation but by fractionation, that is, by separating the types of fats and using only the saturated fats - the most potentially harmful -, which they are already naturally solid at room temperature.

As if to say that the remedy was worse than the disease, and between classic margarines with hydrogenated fats and non-hydrogenated margarines with a greater presence of saturated fats, we could safely say that if Athens cries, Sparta does not laugh.


burrolì, montersino
burrolì, montersino

But here it is, the real novelty, the deus ex machina that put an end to our doubts: Burrolì, the solid-state vegetable oil created by Luca Montersino and his staff. Composed of extra virgin olive oil, cocoa butter and rice oil, Burrolì is intended as the healthy alternative to butter and especially margarine.

But how exactly is Burrolì made, and what distinguishes it from a simple margarine, given that the basic idea is the same and the final result, in terms of consistency, idem, that is, a vegetable but solid oil?

As far as can be read on the label, Burrolì is mainly composed of rice oil, with a small percentage (less than 4%) of olive oil. It is therefore evident that olive oil is certainly not its strong point, if anything, the complete absence of animal fats as well as hydrogenated vegetable fats, identified by many as the infamous palm oil.

Well, Burrolì is produced in such a way that it does not have to resort to the hydrogenation process of fats, to make them solid, using in its place, we assume, emulsifiers and thickeners such as lecithins and carob seed flour.

The conditional is a must, as we do not know exactly the production process of Burrolì, nor will Montersino tell us about it, but what matters is that whatever it is, it does not give rise to the formation of hydrogenated vegetable fats and fats. trans, those deemed most harmful to our health.

However, it should be noted that there are emulsifiers and preservatives (antifungals), such as potassium sorbate, an ingredient that is not harmful at all but that certainly doesn't get it right with a product that is declared completely genuine and natural, at least in the common meaning that most people give to the term "natural. ".



The ending is the same, and one suspects that the product is also something similar to the Montersinian Burrolì. Cremolì, of which Dissapore has already spoken, is also proposed as the healthy alternative to butter and margarine, as it is free from animal fats and hydrogenated vegetable fats.

Also in this case, as for Burrolì, we do not know the manufacturing process that Midapiù, the Umbrian startatp that created and marketed it, developed in order not to resort to the hydrogenation of fats.

However, we know, from the same words of its creator, the food technician / industrial chemist Eraldo Rossi, that it is a "crystallized fat", and not an emulsion, made with an "innovative mechanical-enzymatic transformation process at low temperatures. which allows to keep all the olive oil properties unaltered ".

Cremolì, therefore, in addition to not containing animal fats and hydrogenated fats, is proposed as a healthy and genuine product, as it is composed exclusively of "noble" vegetable oils (olive or extra virgin, depending on the version), cocoa butter and lecithin of sunflower as an emulsifier.

Does anyone who renounces butter make a useless sacrifice?

butter in a jar
butter in a jar

In conclusion, it seems that replacing the much-maligned butter is not so simple and, given its recent rehabilitation, one wonders if it makes sense to use products that require excipients and emulsifiers, albeit not harmful, and sophisticated manufacturing processes in the name of their claim to be more authentic than a product used for millennia, and which does not contain any type of added ingredient.

Also, as you know, butter can be clarified.

What about saturated fats? Moderation and balance are the fixed points that should guide our choices and our consumption, whether it is butter, margarine or various -olies.

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