Traditional French Preserves

Traditional French Preserves

When I was in Boulder, CO, in May, I came across a wonderful little gourmet kitchen and food shop. In addition to your typical gourmet foods – specialty coffees, teas, pasta, chocolates, etc., the store had many European gourmet imports, of which several were available for free tastings.

I just happened to try two of my favorite gourmet foods – whole grain dijon mustard and fruit preserves – both products of France. The mustard, which came in a little ceramic jar with a heavy wax cap, was extremely potent with its strong peppercorn and vinegar taste – perfect to pair with cheese and crackers, or a bit of hard salami.

The preserves from Les Confitures a la Ancienne came in a variety of flavors – plum, pear and vanilla, tangerine, and more. But I was most interested in the fig. (Quite honestly, it’s hard to like gourmet French/European food and not be interested in figs.) Being pressed for time, I quickly snatched up a jar of mustard and a jar of the fig preserves and then jetted off to the airport. As I was flying coach, with no checked bags, I think you can see where this story is headed. I arrive at airport security only to have them scan my bag and confiscate the preserves (thank goodness they didn’t take the mustard!). As you can imagine, I was extremely disappointed, having just bought a lovely jar of authentic, traditional French preserves for about $10, only to watch the officer toss it in the trash. Lesson learned – and a hard one no doubt – about packing gourmet food as a carry on.

However, this is not the end to my story. A few weeks later, I was browsing a new local gourmet grocer and stumbled upon the very same preserves that I found in Boulder, and of all things, they had fig! Two jars of plum and fig preserves later….I can honestly say those preserves were well worth the money and the wait. Next stop, vanilla pear!



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