29 December 2007

Hob's Pick:
Best Jams

Mrs. Meadows and I had a very nice indoor picnic the other day, during which we enjoyed a variety of jams we'd received as gifts. I am very partial to blackberry jam, with strawberry running a close second; but I have to say these were some outstanding new jams, perfect for a picnic, tea, breakfast, or other special occasion.

If you're going to have a jam sampling, it's best to get things in order. I would start with a pot of winter fruit tea (or a nice pekoe blend); some seasonal fruit to help cleanse the palate (citrus or pomegranate do nicely); and of course, lots of toast! And if you're going to go to the trouble of toasting anything, you might as well make it an English muffin (cinnamon raisin, preferably).

My number three jam is French Marmalade. It is very mild, with a good orange fragrance; but with a pleasant, grapefruit bitterness you can feel at the back of the palate. Go easy with this one, because the bitterness starts to overpower the flavor if you don't cleanse the palate often.

My number two jam is Olallieberry. (Olallieberries, if you don't know, are a hybrid berry of predominately blackberry strains.) It is not especially sweet, but it is very fragrant ~ it is like eating a wonderful, mild perfume. The blackberry flavour is not especially strong, but excellent nonetheless. I've never had olallieberry pie, though I've heard of it; it is definitely on my to-do list for summer!

Which leads up to my number one jam: Tayberry, which is a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry. Tayberry has a very simple, strong blackberry flavour, and it is very sweet without being overpowering or sickly sweet. My only complaint would be that it is quite melty, turning a bit drippy within a few minutes and downright syrupy after an hour. (The olallieberry and French marmalade remained firm throughout the picnic.)

The French Marmalade came from St. Dalfour; the berry jams came from Pennington Farms.

Happy picnic wishes for the future!

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