The Tradition of Jelled Luxury

I’ll occasionally ask a friend who is a cook what his or her favorite food flavors are.  You know, what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?  dessert flavor?  fruit flavor?  I’ll admit, the question is a bit of a trap.  Often, they have answers; however, a few admit they don’t want to choose because their love of food is so broad.  Fair enough.

When someone does have a fave, I’m interested to hear how the choice is supported.  In the case of dessert flavors, is the choice related to the actual flavor, or is it the underlying richness of the preparation?  So, as an example, is chocolate your favorite for the purity of its flavor and rich mouth-feel, or is it when chocolate is in a cream preparation such as pots de creme, or flavor-enhanced as in the way sugar deepens chocolate flavor in a brownie?

Although I love chocolate, I also love fruit and citrus flavors.  If I had to choose between the three, it would be a tough choice, although a certain small number of fruit flavors may actually win out.

At the top of my list is black raspberry.  The elusive and exquisite black raspberry.  I first tasted the flavor as a child when my grandmother’s friend gave us the gift of black raspberry jelly.  Very small jars of jelled luxury.  The size of the jar remains embedded in my memory, and the way my grandmother carefully shared it cemented its value.  I couldn’t imagine anything more wonderful then, and today it is my very favorite flavor.

Rouster’s Apple House has flash-frozen black raspberries in large tubs that I buy every year at this time.  At $26 a tub, I, like my grandmother, am very selective about how I use the purple gems.  I’ll occasionally use them to garnish a salad or in a tart for a truly special occasion.  And once a year, I make raspberry jelly to carry on the tradition my grandmother’s friend began.

Jelled luxury.  No equal.  Making jelly is easy.  What simple food tradition of this kind do you carry on?

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