Doves & Figs is a delightful little jam business in Arlington, Mass., a town right outside Boston owned by Robin Cohen. Robin grew up in Long Island making grape jam with her family and while other children dreamed of opening up a lemonade stand, Robin dreamed of having her very own jam stand to sell her wares. Today, her life consists of developing delicious and unique jam concoctions and selling them in farmer’s markets — very much fulfilling the dreams of her childhood.
I first came across her jam at the Taza Chocolate Factory. Taza is an artisanal chocolate company located in Somerville, Mass. It was the first time I had ever seen chocolate in a jam and I was excited to try it. Robin has created a range of jams that incorporate Taza chocolate in unexpected ways. While some jams taste rich and dessert-like, other jams incorporate the rich cocoa flavor and chunky texture of chocolate, without tasting too sweet. Robin’s jams are among the most original that I have tasted and span a wide range of flavor profiles.
Chocolate Fig Sunshine
This was my favorite of the three. It has a very subtle flavor that blends orange with fig. The chocolate in this jam does not overwhelm the jam – rather the cocoa adds another component to the taste that melds nicely with the other slightly acidic fruit flavors. As a whole, the flavor is very delicate which means that it works very well for an everyday breakfast jam. (And believe me, I have been eating this every day!) Despite the fig seeds that you can see throughout, this jam has a very smooth texture. All in all, a jam whose flavor has been very carefully thought through and that remains interesting every time you taste it because none of the ingredients dominates.
Razzle Dazzle Raspberry Chocolate Jam
In contrast to the Chocolate Fig Sunshine, this jam is rich and creamy and dessert-like. Again, the chocolate is well incorporated balancing out the acidic nature of the raspberries. It has an smooth texture and the raspberry seeds punctuate the consistency with a bit of a crunch. Here, the classic combination of raspberry and chocolate works wonderfully in jam form, making it quite the breakfast treat. It works well on toast or in yoghurt, but we’ve also enjoyed it in vanilla ice cream and on top of cookies.
Of the three, this is the most traditional jam and it does not have any chocolate in it. However, traditional in this context is relative. All of Robin’s jams are exciting in some way. Here, we have a strawberry and rhubarb jam, but in the mixture, Robin adds walnuts and ginger which serve as an unexpected surprise. I love strawberry jams of all kinds, but I have never tasted one quite as interesting as this one. To me, it provides all the comfort you are looking for in a strawberry jam with none of the boredom.
Looking through Robin’s extensive list of flavors, it is clear that she is particularly skilled at discovering flavors and textures that go together very naturally, but that haven’t yet been served in jam form. For instance, one of her jams incorporates Earl Grey tea with blackberry, one spices up sweet summer peaches with hot pepper flakes and yet another mixes blueberry, port and cinnamon. I’m always interesting in discovering new flavor combinations in my jam and I can’t wait to try more of Doves & Figs jams.