30 May2007

guava1

Part of the 150 pounds of luggage we brought over to New York included dozens of packages of dried mangoes, some polvoron, sampaloc and a single bottle of my homemade guava jelly as a present for my sister and her family. So you can imagine my surprise when at our first breakfast after the long flight, she whipped out a brand new bottle of guava jam she acquired on a recent trip to Paris… The French, like the English, have a wonderful respect for jams, jellies and preserves and they seem to consider it a national birthright to have perfected the process of extracting the of essence and flavor of fruits from near and far. Perhaps because of previous French colonies in Africa, they must have figured out the guava essence a long time ago, but this certainly came as a surprise to me… This small bottle of jam, labeled Confiture épépinée de Goyaves (gosh, doesn’t that just sound so much chicer than GUAVA JAM), contained 58% guava pulp, 42% sugar and a little bit of pectin. That’s pretty authentic, don’t you think?

After twisting off the cap and hearing the vacuum pop, a close sniff yielded a highly promising intense guava aroma. guava2The color, a pinkish, orangey caramel color, clearly screamed GUAVA. The texture of the jam was incredibly smooth (a typical complaint of commercially made jams that lack that homemade feel), but the taste and flavor were REALLY REALLY GOOD. They nailed that one on the head! I had it with my croissant and it was super delicious. The super smoothness was the only thing I would change if I could as I like the graininess of a homemade guava jam. At about $6-7 for the bottle, it was definitely worth it. The next time you pass by France or England, don’t forget to check out the good food purveyors and bring home some of their utterly superb jams and jellies… The brand on this bottle was da Cour d’Orgeres, in case you were curious.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. mikelinparis says:

    bonjour MM. just wanted to tell you about a restaurant my sister quietly opened in greenhills recently. i have identified with your food tastes through this blog and am quite sure you will enjoy her cooking. the resto, Angels Kitchen 57 Connecticut St 744 1018, features filipino & spanish family recipes.

    have received emails from friends who discovered the resto through word of mouth and were surprised that my sis, Marnie Gonzalez Ong, actally opened one and raves about the food & ambiance. she’s always been a great cook and foodie, much like yourself. but between raising 5 kids and a home in greenhills & vancouver where some of here kids go to university, there never seemed to be time for it.

    hope you have the chance to visit someday and let me know what you think. ask for her when you do. there’s also a shop that offers gourmet locally sourced food items.

    May 30, 2007 | 4:01 pm

     
  2. Marketman says:

    mikel, that sounds great, I will try to get to the restaurant in the weeks ahead. Thanks for the tip…

    May 30, 2007 | 4:05 pm

     
  3. mikelinparis says:

    PS will look for that guave jelly!

    May 30, 2007 | 4:18 pm

     
  4. Tony says:

    You are right about French and English jams and preserves. I should know, having been born in one and spent a lot of time studying and working in the other.

    The best commercial preserves in England are made by Wilkinson, very good but expensive. Often local markets have a wide range of home made preserves. Most housewives have their own recipes for making jam, especially in June and July when the strawberry and raspberry season is at its height.

    In France a few years ago you were usually served the ubiquitous confiture d’abricots at breakfast. Now there are many more varieties, the best made by Bonne Maman which I am pleased to say is available in Terry’s.

    However I must say that no self respecting Englishman would eat French marmalade!

    May 30, 2007 | 6:02 pm

     
  5. Sister says:

    This and other superb flavours are available at Maison du Chocolate in Paris and New York. Europeans generally pay more for jams and jellies and hence have a better selection being such a discerning consumer as well. I was paged at Heathrow prior to boarding a flight to NYC, accompanied by Scotland Yard to the tarmac and asked to “identify my luggage”. The problem turned out to be a dozen bottles of jam from Harrods that were neatly lined up and showed up on the x ray like 2 rows of metal circles… They allowed me to keep my jams!

    May 30, 2007 | 7:30 pm

     
  6. honey says:

    good thing you were allowed to pass customs with that. I’ve been wondering about customs anyway. a few months ago, a box containing frozen crabs and crayfish, pinangat and pili were mistakenly sent to LA. we didn’t learn about it until it was received by my tita who was of course, thrilled by the unexpected gift. the food stuff were placed in tupperware and not even heat sealed. does this mean, we can always food packed that way?

    May 30, 2007 | 8:10 pm

     
  7. mikelinparis says:

    me again. it’s incredible that in france you can now find jams with no added sugar, sweetened with natural juices, from small farm producers. love the mures sauvages & cerise noir with toasted muffins. fav brand lucien georgelin.

    May 30, 2007 | 10:27 pm

     
  8. Maria Clara says:

    Aside from their French fries and skin care products, when it comes to fruit jams, jellies and purees French are the pioneers. The French really capture the essence of the fruit.

    May 31, 2007 | 3:53 am

     
  9. sylvia says:

    MM, I am delirious just reading your gauava jam post. I have got to try this.

    May 31, 2007 | 1:25 pm

     
  10. sylvia says:

    Btw Marketman, when are you going to tell us the correct answer to your poll?

    May 31, 2007 | 1:26 pm

     
  11. Marketman says:

    sylvia, yes, when the new york posts draw to an end, I will answer the poll question… :)

    May 31, 2007 | 1:38 pm

     
  12. Apicio says:

    It’s curious that the French specify that the guava seeds have been taken away. It is not as if they are tiny enough to be included and that you can ignore them the way you do with strawberry or fig preserve. Anyway, jam and jellies and cheese remind me of Jacob’s cream crackers of old. Their familiar tin box are still available but they now contain a completely different product. Their ought to be a law.

    May 31, 2007 | 10:58 pm

     
  13. MasPinaSarap says:

    If you get a chance to go to the middle parts of the U.S.(or have you?), or the “country”, and/or including mennonite communities, they pride themselves on homemade preserves, and you can’t hardly find them but at a farmer’s market or country store. Certainly no guava jam, but american summer fruits like strawberries, raspberries, peaches, and apricots.

    Jun 1, 2007 | 9:50 am

     
  14. Marketman says:

    MasPinaSarap, I do love apple butter which is a staple in apple orchard country in the U.S.; I have had some of the other jams as well but broadly speaking the French and English do seem to extract flavor from fruit so well…

    Jun 1, 2007 | 10:41 am

     
  15. MasPinaSarap says:

    A bit off topic, but have you tried Champagne jelly?

    Jun 2, 2007 | 1:25 am

     
  16. Marketman says:

    MasPinaSarap, no, I have not… is is just sugar flavored with champagne?

    Jun 2, 2007 | 4:42 am

     
  17. connie says:

    The only brand that I found that makes guava jelly here in the US or at least groceries in my area carries is Palmalito, they are a company based in Florida. The taste is nothing but appalling, the jelly is so heavy on corn syrup that is tastes like honey dilluted in brown sugar, worst it crystallizes at the top, another sign of too much sugar instead of a lot more guava. Truly yucky! Their mango jam is equally horrid!

    Jun 3, 2007 | 9:59 am

     
  18. MasPinaSarap says:

    Honestly, I have no idea. It’s expensive at the Fauchon in NY, and I’m curious about the flavor myself.

    Jun 3, 2007 | 10:24 am

     
 

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