We had the pleasure of tasting some jam from an interesting Californian jam maker. The name of the company says it all! It’s called We Love Jam, and it is based in the Santa Clara Valley. The founders of We Love Jam have spent over 40 years developing their craft. They make very small batches of jam from the very best fruit they can find. As a result, their jams sell out very quickly and there is always a long waiting list for their products. We were very impressed with the two jams that we tried. They were both had complex and original profiles and they were bursting with flavor. Read our detailed tasting notes below.
Tart Cherry and Apricot Jam
Sight: This jam is very fluid and juicy, with a earthy, red hue.
Smell: When you breathe in the jam, the dominant scent is that of apricot.
Taste: Interestingly, while the jam smells strongly of apricot, the taste captures both the tartness and sweetness of the cherry. The two fruit have been slowly and delicately cooked to the point that their flavors are nicely integrated. The majority of the jam’s body comes from the cherry. The cherries are left whole, they are suspended in the rich, thick apricot syrup. It is very spreadable and very rich in flavor.
There are many ways we can imagine using this jam. It’s flavor conjures up nostalgia for cherry pie. We would use this in a range of desserts and ice-cream. Or we could create little tarts with filo pastry and use this jam as a filling. So many possibilities!
Tart Cherry and Grapefruit
Smell: These two flavors combine to yield a very interesting scent. Taking in a whiff, we enjoyed the smell of vanilla, elderflower and licorice.
Sight: This is a very fleshy jam. There are thick chunks of fruit suspended in liquid. We love the We Love Jam chooses to play around with the textures of their jams, rather than producing jams with the consistent, sticky, solid textures that we are so used to seeing in the grocery aisles. These jams are allowed to separate into their fruit and liquid components.
Taste: Again the two flavors in this jam are beautifully blended. Neither flavor really stands out, but they come together to create a distinct and delicious new flavor. It reminded Mike of an old fashioned cocktail, the ones that have a slice of grapefruit and a cherry in the glass. The jam is reminiscent of an aged bitter. It almost has a woody flavor, and makes him want to take out a cigar. This would be a masculine jam, if such a thing could exist.
Personally, I am very impressed by the way these jam makers have managed to create something so delicious with grapefruit. Grapefruit is such a difficult fruit to manipulate – there is so much tartness and acid in grapefruit. However, We Love Jam manages to take out the best part of the grapefruit’s flavor – its spice, it’s sweetness, while removing the harsher qualities of grapefruit. In this jam, the essence of grapefruit is there in the background, while the more obvious qualities of the cherry are the first thing you notice.
These are two very different jams that use the cherry fruit. Tasting them together allowed us to better understand We Love Jam’s aesthetic. These jam makers take their time to allow very different flavors to combine and meld together. Their jams are complicated and delicious, a real treat to the senses. If you haven’t tried their jams before, we highly recommend that you do!