Confiture de l’An Neuf

Confiture de l'An Neuf

[New Year Jam]

Just a couple of days ago, I happened to be around La Grande Epicerie de Paris, the quite huge gourmet food store attendant to the store Le Bon Marché. This kind of place works like a magnet on me, and although I was laden with different heavy items to carry, I still went in to browse around. This is really heaven for food lovers, but I didn’t stay long : there is only so much cumbersome aisle space negociation even I can take, as filled with tempting things as said aisles may be.

I did, however, have time to pick up the cutest jar of jam in history, with its little red polka dot hat and white knot. Christine Ferber is known as “la fée des confitures”, the jam fairy. I have mentioned her before, and how she makes fruit jams the old-fashioned way, in her little Alsacian village of Niedermorschwihr (pronounced whichever way suits your fancy). I have bought a couple of jars of her creations in the past, one Nougabricot (Apricot jam with honey and bits of almonds and pistachios) and one Framboise-Chocolat (Raspberries and Valrhona Guanaja chocolate). Both were memorably succulent.

She makes a lot of “plain” fruit jams (blueberry, blackcurrant, plum, raspberry…), but I’m more interested in her unusual flavor pairings. And this time, it’s a seasonal flavor that caught my eye, this “Confiture de l’An Neuf” (New Year Jam), made with fresh figs, dried figs, oranges and Gewürztraminer (an Alsacian white wine). On New Year’s day, it is the tradition in some families to give loved ones small gifts, “des douceurs pour que l’année soit douce” (sweet things for a sweet year). These sweet things would traditionally be dried fruits and oranges, hence the jam’s name! We don’t do this in my family, but I figured I might as well take things into my own hands, and got myself this douceur.

I gave my little jar a taste test yesterday, and it is really as good as it sounded. I’ve had fig jams before, but they were often a bit thick and sticky, or so sweet it overpowered the fig flavor. But there is no such objection here : it has the smoothest texture, with delicious strips of figs and orange rind. The taste of the fig is intact, you can actually tell that there is both fresh and dried fig in it, and the wine gives it a subtle tingly taste.

If this jam is any indication, 2004 is going to be very sweet indeed.

La Grande Epicerie de Paris
38, rue de Sèvres
75007 Paris
01 44 39 81 00
Mon to Sat, 8:30am to 9pm

  • That is a cute little jar! It sounds scrummy, too. I would be tempted to whisk a tablespoon of this jam with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, and use it as a dressing on a salad of ripe figs, buffalo mozzarella and pancetta (this recipe here:

    I’m drooling just thinking about it — I should have had lunch three hours ago! :)

  • Jackie – It’s an awesome idea to use this as a condiment! I can’t guarantee it will last long enough, though! :)

    And thanks again for the care you take of my blog’s look with the use of short links! :) I do have to object to the rather silly name of that salad, though : easiest maybe, but sexiest? What on earth makes it any sexier than other salads? I know it’s the kind of over-the-top expressions Jamie uses, but it gets a little annoying and meaningless after a while…

  • Giving sweets at the new year is also a Jewish tradition. Of course, our New Year comes in the fall. My family is middle eastern, and we eat stewed quince with cardamom, rosewater, and lemon.

  • Jeremy – Mmm, that quince concoction sounds divine! I’ll write down that pairing for inspiration…

  • Enjoy. Just be sure to add a lot of sugar. People from that part of the world like their sweets extra-sweet.

  • Are you telling me that you don’t look at that salad and feel immediately amourous? Are you saying that you don’t think this salad could be used in place of Viagra for some poor soul? Hmm.

    It *is* a deeply stupid name, Clotilde — but I would expect nothing less from Jamie. He annoys me very much, but some of his recipes look incredible…I’m ashamed to say I own three of his books!

  • NB Jeremy’s post on the Jewish tradition makes me think that this jam also looks like it would make a good filling for hamantaschen.

  • Jeremy – I’ll make a note of that too! Plus, quince can be quite tart if not burried in sugar! :)

    Jackie – I am Jack’s complete lack of amorous stimulation. And I am in no way surprised that we see eye to eye on this! However, I have managed to refrain from buying his books. I would be interested in borrowing them though! :)

  • marina

    I am travelling to France in June. Would Christine Ferber have a retail store in Alsace, or any contact details?

  • Marina – Yes, Christine Ferber sells her products in her Alsacian village of Niedermorschwir, which is very pretty I’m told. The address and contact info is :

    Maison Ferber (Relais des Trois-Epis)
    18 rue des Trois-Épis
    68230 Niedermorschwir
    tél. +33 (0)1 89 27 05 69
    fax : +33 (0)1 89 27 48 03

    If you go, do let me know how it was!

  • Joan

    We visited the store last year, and are planning to go again in about a week. It’s the little family grocery store, but with many, many sorts of Christine’s products. I brought back about a dozen jars, with last year’s favorites being a passion fruit coulis and a sweet-sour shallot and herb confit (fabulous flavor base for a sauce). The pear and vanilla was also wonderful.

  • Joan – I’d love to pay it a visit myself. Do you live in the area, or are you there on a trip?

  • edelices

    You can buy also online Christine Ferber jams on the site

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