A few weeks ago, we stopped by a new gourmet food shop at Chadstone*, and were taken by the caramelised fig and quince jam that was out for sampling. Thinking it would be sufficiently flavoursome and interesting for Christmas breakfasting, we bought a jar. A rather pricey jar** but we thought "What the hell; it's Christmas".
Come Christmas morn, I open the jar of jam and am greeted by the sight of a healthy flush of mould on the surface and on the inside of the lid.
Yum yum. Needless to say, we returned it.***
Mouldy jam is the sort of thing you could almost forgive an amateur preservist for. Almost. But given that I have made fig jam with seventy-five per cent less sugar than most jams and still not had it go mouldy after a year in the pantry, I'm not very forgiving of a sugary jam supposedly made by professionals, with professional preserving equipment.
On a less revolting note, and for the curious, the Christmas Day menu was:
Breakfast: Schwobs dark rye, a sourdough roll, Beurre d'Isigny Sainte-Mère (or in my case, cottage cheese), an excellent Syrian apricot jam procured on a Sydney Rd jaunt, Vallee d'Ourthe wild blueberry jam, Illy espresso (with frothed milk and Lindt chocolate shavings on top; and not, for mine).
Lunch: Cheese platter, with King Island ashed brie, Yarra Valley Dairy gemello, taleggio and a Spanish blue cheese we got from YVD (have forgotten variety - it's enough to say, nom nom nom), Maggie Beet plum paste, a thinly-sliced Sundowner apple, pecans, brazils, freshly cracked walnuts.
Dinner: Organic buckwheat blini, with salmon roe and fresh dill. Huon smoked salmon and freshly-baked organic sourdough rye, accompanied by a beetroot and dill salad, a garden salad, a fruit salad (with organic figs and raspberries from the garden) and sheep's milk yogurt. Prosecco.
Finished off with Dan Lepard's extra-moist stollen**** modified by me to contain dried sour cherries in lieu of raisins, cherry brandy in lieu of rum, and mahlepi in lieu of cardamom etc. Served up with Maggie Beer burnt fig and bitter almond ice-cream.
*For the curious, not one with the initials SJ, although I did have a lovely cup of Earl Grey tea there.
**And this is pricey not by our standards, since we don't settle for less than Bonne Maman. The name "Cottee's", for instance, would never darken our shelves.
***To add insult to injury, when we went to the Doncaster branch this morning to return it, the staff said "Oh no, you bought it at the Chadstone store, so it'll have to be returned there". No effing way! Merry Christmas to you, too, tossers!
***See also the most excellent blog by theinversecook.