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One Phrase: Memorable.
Christine Ferber, the “French queen of jam making” or the “Jam Fairy” as her mates name her!
She was even featured by the New York Occasions on this fascinating article “From Alsace, Candy Love for the World” and by Saveur Journal in “Jam Session – A French chef makes fruit preserves a cult favourite”. So the truth that I bought the prospect to satisfy her in individual in her small pastry store is one thing I by no means anticipated to occur, and one thing I’ll always remember. It was really a memorable second.
Earlier than I am going any additional, let me apologize for the very fact I don’t have a photograph of her, however only a photograph of her pretty jams. I caught her – unannounced – in her kitchen on the finish of an extended day, and she or he didn’t need me to take her image. She simply didn’t suppose that she regarded ok for the digital camera! Completely comprehensible.
How I Found Christine Ferber
The primary time I heard of Christine Ferber was after I purchased considered one of her books. I used to be creating recipes for our Cheese Companions and had purchased quite a lot of French books on jams. All of them had very artistic concepts of mixing flavors, however I bought notably fascinated about her recipes, as she typically commented about pairing her preserves with cheese. After months of testing recipes, at some point I made a decision to attempt an adaptation of her cherry thyme protect. I used to be instantly seduced: the affiliation of the candy cherry and the recent thyme was pleasant. Moreover, within the Basque nation, cherry preserves are a conventional pairing with native sheep milk cheese, notably tome. That taste mixture had all the pieces to make it a successful product, and we didn’t get disillusioned.
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Having been launched to her skills on this method, how may I ever overlook her? Since then, I’ve observed that she is commonly talked about (and admired) by famend jam makers or meals bloggers. On the retailer of our mates from Blake Hill Preserves, Vicky, a third-generation jam-maker, sells one e book and one e book solely on jam making and it’s the English jam-making e book from Christine Ferber. Aran, the meals blogger from Cannelle & Vanille has additionally declared her lengthy admiration for Christine Ferber. She loves “her rustic, easy and pure strategy to meals.”
A Little Village in Alsace
So after I discovered that she nonetheless owned a pastry store in just a little village of Alsace and that I used to be driving via that area on a visit from Germany to our little home in Brittany in Might, I knew that I needed to make the detour.
Niedermorschwihr is a typical Alsatian village, proper in the course of the wine nation. It’s tiny and quaint, with an structure clearly influenced by the historical past of this area that went forwards and backwards from being German to being French. It was raining once we bought there on the finish of a Friday afternoon in Might, and we shortly discovered the small pastry store. Boy, how a lot I remorse now to not have taken a photograph of her storefront, regardless of the rain (to see a photograph of it, click on on this text from Chocolate & Zucchini). Once we got here in, we had been welcomed by a show of good French pastries. Apart from the massive show of jams on the left wall, the place regarded just about like several pastry store in any French village. After tasting a few her jams, and choosing an unique ardour fruit jam and a pair of pastries, we bought to the cashier to pay. Bravely I requested if Christine Ferber was there. “Sure, she is” merely replied the cashier. After a second of hesitation, I adventured to ask: “do you suppose I may meet her? I’ve a small firm, we make preserves for cheese accompaniments and considered one of my merchandise was impressed by considered one of her recipes.” “Let me test” she replied. When she got here again from the kitchen, the reply was “Sure, however just for a couple of minutes as she was ready for a gaggle.” Within the kitchen, behind the shop, my husband and I had been launched to Christine Ferber…
A 4th Era Baker
Right here she was, in the course of her kitchen, with a couple of workers round her, busily spreading melted chocolate over steel sheets…! We squeezed right into a nook of the room, to not disturb the move of the work, and Christine Ferber answered my questions one after the other, with simplicity and humility.
How did she begin? The place did she practice? What in regards to the cookbooks? How many individuals work along with her?
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She answered all of them. And what was fascinating to me is that – regardless of her worldwide success – the individual we met that day was not somebody on the lookout for the spotlights of fame, however a easy craftsperson working onerous at her craft.
Her nice grand-father, grand-father, and father had been all bakers on this Alsatian village and she or he merely took over the bakery. She skilled in pastry making in Brussels and in Paris (her biography mentions that she skilled with the famend pastry chef Lucien Peltier in Paris).
When she got here again to Alsace, she labored 2 years on their own. It took a whole lot of time and onerous work to get the place she is right now. The week we had been there she had simply moved her jam-making operations to a brand new location within the village. She now has 30 workers and a few of them have been along with her because the starting! She nonetheless begins every single day at 5:30 am and she or he nonetheless checks each single jar of jam that leaves her kitchen!
Once I requested about her cookbooks revealed in quite a lot of languages and bought world wide, she merely replied: “It was not my thought. Individuals requested me, and I simply did it. And so they translated them.”
As she continued to speak to us, spreading chocolate on sheets, including nuts, she was additionally maintaining a tally of a younger trainee and warmly correcting him on the exact hand motion he wanted to need to completely combine his bowl of melted chocolate. I may really feel her deep caring for the work and the individuals. And I may really feel the years of onerous work which made her who she is right now.
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“This work takes a whole lot of focus and no distraction,” she stated. It was time to depart her to her work and to benefit from the reminiscence of a really particular second.
An Inspiration to Make Extra Preserves
Again in Vermont, I’m again in my kitchen, making preserves with seasonal fruits – not on the market, only for my very own pleasure. Christine Ferber has re-energized me. She has given me a renewed need to have a good time the great flavors of fruit in all its types. Thanks a lot, Christine!
For extra info on Christine Ferber:
- Christine Ferber (Biography in French)
- Jam Session: A French chef makes fruit preserves a cult favourite (Saveur Journal)
- From Alsace, Candy Love for the World (New York Occasions)
Two of her jam-making books:
- Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber 2002 (in English)
- Leçons de confitures Christine Ferber 2012 (in French)
The place to purchase Christine Ferber’s jams within the USA: Ann Marie’s Store Europe
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