It’s about time fruit jams go out of their comfort zone—the breakfast table.
And so, it’s goodbye partnership with breads, butter and toasts; welcome fish, pork, chicken, cheese, pâté, chocolates and what-have-you.
“Jams are good for breakfast but they are also great when paired with other ingredients for cocktails, lunch and dinner,” says Frenchman Pierre Marmonier, owner of the popular and locally made fruit jams called The Fruit Garden.
“We want the jams to go out of the breakfast spread. Any dish can taste better and even come out delicious with jams.”
True enough, dishes made of seafood and red meat dabbed, spread, blended or layered with fruit jams acquire a new depth and body to perk up one’s jaded appetite.
Marmonier recently collaborated with celebrated chef Jessie Sincioco of the Chef Jesse Rockwell Club to come up with gourmet food incorporating The Fruit Garden line of jams, including the best-selling mango ginger jam, pear cumin jam, guava jam and strawberry with mint.
Guests were awed at how even a hint of the jam could actually enhance flavors, textures and aromas of each food—especially when accompanied with a glass of red or white wine (Gailliac AOC 2008 Domaine des terrisses and Chinon 2009 La Levrauderie), courtesy of Le Cellier’s French Wine Collection.
Sincioco masterfully paired Marmonier’s unique blend of strawberry black pepper jam with a smooth country pâté on a crunchy toast. It was a heady mix of sweet and salty morsels.
Instead of the typical wasabi and vinaigrette dressing, the spicy tuna tartar with nori strips was slathered with mango ginger jam.
A samosa-like puff pastry was packed with the goodness of blue cheese, brie and parmesan and fused with guava jam.
The grilled chicken, marinated in salt, pepper and paprika, was seasoned with peach and mango spice jam and served on a bamboo skewer, while the passion fruit jam neutralized the strong taste of the roast pork.
On a sweeter note, there were assorted mini mango Pavlova glazed with tropical paradise jam, lychee berry rose jam and strawberry mint jam.
A finale of Belgian chocolate pralines filled with The Fruit Garden’s assorted jams completed the gustatory experience.
“We hope to see more Filipino chefs using local fruit jams in their dishes instead of the imported ones,” says Marmonier. “It’s time that we do something with the local fruit.”
Marmonier and Filipino wife Andrea, started the homemade fruit jams three years ago. Marmonier grew up savoring and helping prepare his mom’s homemade fruit jams back in France. The jams were made from strawberry, orange, apricot, cherry, peach and raspberry, and Marmonier’s mom would include more fruit than sugar.
“I started making my own jams because I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a good jam in the supermarket here,” he says. “They’re too sweet with very limited variants.”
Though the couple had no culinary background, Marmonier proceeded to make his own jams the way he remembered how. After all, “There are many delicious fruits in the Philippines,” he says.
The couple started with more than a dozen flavors: plain mango, mango lavender, mango ginger, mango spice, mango papaya, strawberry, strawberry mint, strawberry banana, pineapple, pine mango and pine coco.
Now, they have more than 20 flavors being produced in their Mandaluyong commissary, including exotic ones like durian and jackfruit. They’ve also started exporting the fruit jams to South Korea.
For the Christmas season, The Fruit Garden introduces two new jam flavors that will be available for only three months: Berry Dream and Tropical Paradise.
Berry Dream is a mix of blueberry and strawberry fruits with a subtle hint of violet flowers, inspired by Marmonier’s childhood memories of violet candy.
“It is more a typical ‘winter’ jam eaten when those fruits aren’t in season. The uniqueness of that jam comes from the violet flower aroma. As a child, I used to eat violet candy, and it has a very special taste for me,” he says.
Tropical Paradise is a result of over six months of testing to achieve the perfect balance of passion fruit, pineapple and mango flavors.
Both jams are bottled in unique and exclusive wave glass jars especially made for this year’s holiday line. The “artsy” bottles can be stacked one on top of the other, and are pretty enough to be used for other things, such as salt and pepper..
“We can do a lot of fantastic things with Philippine fruits,” says Marmonier. “We just want to prove that through The Fruit Garden. We can produce world-class products from here.”
The Fruit Garden jams are available at New World Hotel Chocolatier lobby outlet, Dusit Thani Hotel Lobby Gourmet outlet and Hyatt Hotel Manila Patisserie Boutique.