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The world’s most expensive jam



Well, one of them anyhow.  I do believe recently, an English jam manufacturer broke that record with a truly expensive marmalade with whiskey and gold leaf and who knows what, but until that time the world’s most expensive jam happened to be Confiture Des Groseilles – or a currant jam with an impressive pedigree.

I first learned about it years ago, reading some long-forgotten magazine that ran a story on this jam, and I was enchanted by its pedigree – the 700 year jam making history, the insane prep process, the dignitary endorsement, and I vowed one day to try this culinary wonder.

A food site FXCuisine ran an excellent article on the jam, including an interview with the current maker – you can read it here, (with better photos), but I’d like to recap some highlights to peak your interest:  the currants are picked by virgins by the light of the new moon on the Friday of the holy cauldron and blessed by a Tibetan lama….. nah, I’m kidding, but that’s just shy of the actual effort that goes into the production of this masterpiece – the berries are gently trimmed with scissors, EACH SEED (6 to 20)  of the berry is plucked out BY HAND with a quill… okay I have to pause here and let this sink in. The effort to pick out tiny berry seeds out of tiny berries with a quill is so far removed from my understanding and approach to cooking that its boggling my mind. But it’s exactly this insane effort that made me want to try it. The jam is gently cooked in a copper cauldron using some secret methodology that ensures it will still be good 100 years from now, and the gentle liquid concoction is bottled and sold for about 40.00 for a 3oz bottle.



By some stroke of luck my father happened to spend a chunk of this winter working on a contract in Paris. Never one to miss an opportunity, I got him to ship me a jar as soon as it was expedient to do so, and one day a small jar of the precious jam appeared in my kitchen. I waited for the weekend so I could indulge properly – with a huge mug of café au lait and a sunny kitchen, and cracked it open.



The verdict: I’m glad I got to try it, but I was not struck by its transcendental beauty. My first impression was that of sugar, with not quite enough of the delicate currant taste to come through, something that the writer of FXCuisine noted also, by preferring the gooseberry version. My second impression was also of sugar. The notes of the berries were just not prominent enough to stand up to the sugar required for the jam. The texture was delicate and unique – a soft cloudy mass where you could almost but not quite feel the de-seeded berries on your tongue. I guess my palate is just not august enough to join that of Alfred Hitchcock, the Queen of France and other luminaries who have enjoyed it over the years. For my money I’ll take the Cloudberry jam from IKEA any day.




8 comments to The world’s most expensive jam

  • Holey Moley…that is some expensive jam! A QUILL? I cannot imagine that much work…although the virgins in the moonlight had me laughing out loud!

    Glad you got to try it…glad to know its not all that so now I don’t and can keep on making my own…seeds and all! Kim

  • It would be fun to try it but I doubt it would find a spot in my fridge.

  • admin

    @the inadvertent farmer – I KNOW!!! A quill?? It would take me a week to try and do that, although realistically I never would. But hey – keeps the town in fame and jam.

    @teena – yep, if my father was not in France when he was I would not have paid the shipping charges to send it here. It was a fluke of circumstance.

  • Wow, that is one expensive jar of jam. At that price, you would expect it to be absolutely delicious! I can’t see myself picking it up though; just a little too pricey for our weekly food budget. Glad you got a chance to try it and share the results with us.

  • admin

    Hey WR – I agree, if I didn’t have the opportunity to request a souvenir from my father, I would likely NOT have splurged. The sad thing is, the jam was simply not that delicious – it was fine, but nothing like the price would imply. Perhaps the gooseberry version is much better, but alas I didn’t get to try it.

  • Insane! I’d love to try it, but it seems to rely on the myth that anything that is hard to make automatically tastes better. Which just isn’t so. I bet a lot of people would save a lot of time and money if they did a blind taste test to see if it’s actually worth picking out each seed by hand.

  • Jean

    Are white currants the same as gooseberries? I went to the website (i have a friend in Paris i was maybe going to hit up to get me some) and there was no gooseberry jam. Only red currant and white currant. Love to try it!

  • admin

    @Phronk – LOL, mostly yes. The thing with currants is they do contain a schwack of seeds and some people mangle the fruit to strain them out. I get the principle of what they’re trying to do – suspend wee balls of fruit in a clear jelly. But I don’t think it’s the optimal jam recipe – the sugar to acid ratio is a bit off.

    @Jean – Ummmm… come over? I still have lots left. And no, gooseberries are totally different, so they’re either sold out or not making it anymore? Although that would explain why I only got the one kind – dad shipped home three jars, but all were currants.

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