Laure, Delphine et Salima
Our creators of fruit mixtures
This summer, we want to make you (re-)discover an unmissable product from La Grande Épicerie de Paris: fruit mixtures. All are made by expert hands in the Paris area, from French fruit. Strawberries of Dordogne, Pears of Provence or Apricots of Languedoc Roussillon... our creators Laure, Delphine and Salmina reveal their secrets.
How did the range of fruit mixtures, jellies and marmalades from La Grande Épicerie de Paris come about?
We started to work on this project in 2015 with Angela Intonti, then in charge of brand development for La Grande Épicerie de Paris. Our common goal was to provide a top-quality range showcasing French fruit. Together, we envisaged a range of about 20 items, from jellies to marmalades, through fruit mixtures. The particularity of these last is that they contain less added sugar than jams; they bring out the fruit itself and so favour authentic French flavours.
From flavours, to recipes and even the utensils: everything was chosen, down to the smallest detail.
What are the main features of the collection?
At the heart of this selection are, of course, classic recipes based on red fruit, yellow fruit and citrus fruit. We have also developed mixtures around celebrated varieties such as quinces from Provence, mirabelles from Lorraine and cherries from Montmorency.
The marmalades came along later. Some are single fruit, other blend flavours like the lemon-lime marmalade.
What are the secrets of their production process?
The fruit mixtures from La Grande Épicerie de Paris are made exclusively from French fruit. This means that, sometimes, they are unavailable whether because of the harvest or climatic variations; if summer was particularly wet, strawberries might lack the flavour needed to make a good fruit mixture. In that case, it is important not to make them, to avoid compromising the quality of the product.
Fruit that is still whole is cooked in small quantities, so it is not crushed by its own weight. In this way, we retain lovely pieces of fruit that give the mixture a supple texture that is easy to spread.
We chose to cook in copper cauldrons because copper is an excellent heat conductor; we believe it is the best material for evenly cooking fruit. Finally, we work only with cane sugar to give as authentic a flavour as possible.
What are the three essential flavours to try from La Grande Épicerie de Paris range? Why?
- Strawberries of Dordogne or the seedless raspberry, two great classics of which we can never tire
- the lemon-lime marmalade: an original blend of flavours adored by citrus fans.
- the quince of Provence: a fruit traditionally cultivated in French orchards. It is increasingly rare because it is hard to peel. So try it!
For those who enjoy choice, there are also boxes of mini fruit mixtures separated by theme, for example the marmalades or the yellow fruit ones. It's an excellent idea for a brunch or makes a lovely present because the French are very fond of jams.
What's the difference between a fruit mixture, a jelly and a marmalade?
- The fruit mixtures contain more fruit and less added sugar than traditional jams. They are generally made of 50% fruit compared to 35% for a jam. That said, you can't necessarily get the better fruit mixtures by adding more fruit because they contain a lot of water ; you have to cook them for longer, which risks damaging them.
- Marmalade is a term reserved for citrus fruits; they are particularly high in pectin, a natural fruit gelling agent. Generally, marmalades are less high in fruit because citrus have a tendency to harden after cooking. If the marmalade hardens, it doesn't spread well.
- Finally, jellies are made from fruit juice that, once mixed with sugar, solidifies when it cools.