Good jam is one of life's great (small) pleasures. I discovered this first as a child, in the kitchen with my parents, boiling down the literal fruits of our labors after trips to the you-pick-it orchards in the California Central Valley.
(2009 stocking stuffer from my parents)
We would stir and bubble and toil for a few hours on a warm summer afternoon and end up with jars and jars of blackberry, apricot, plum and peach jam to be stored on the shelves under the house until their moment of glory would come.
But a New York City apartment is not the place to be preserving. No room for the massive cauldron necessary and no room for the jars. So I must turn to other sources.
I will forever adore Fortnum and Mason jams and jellies, not only because they are delicious but also for the whimsical flavor combinations and adorable label designs. But they are not so easy to come by here in the US, and when I do make my way over to London I nearly send myself to the poorhouse gathering up too many jars to reasonably take back in my suitcase.
So when I was having brunch the other day at Gottino, my latest new favorite spot (and apparently everyone else's as well...I've gone from having to wait zero minutes for a seat to thirty minutes in the span of two months) I was thrilled to discover that, along with their fluffy steamed eggs (it is absolutely essential to try the eggs with the roasted tomatoes...you have never tasted such a tomato, I promise!), they have fantastic jam. I was enjoying it with a healthy smear of butter on an already buttery scone and simply could not stop marveling over the sheer fruitiness of it.
I simply had to know...where does it come from? The answer, happily, was from about three blocks away, at one of my favorite shops, Buon Italia.
I dashed over to pick up some Agrimontana jam...blackberry, raspberry, orange, lemon, sour cherry...as many as I could reasonably carry.
After all, at $5.95 per jar I was more likely to break my back before my bank account.