Meeting Emmanuelle, our juice & nectar producer.
This month, La Grande Epicerie de Paris takes you to Bourgogne and to the land owned by Emmanuelle, our fruit juice and nectar producer. With her we discover the history behind our range of over 10 flavours. Emmanuelle will also reveal a few manufacturing secrets, some of them directly inspired by wine-making.
Tell us about the range of juices & nectars sold by La Grande Epicerie de Paris: How was it first created?
As an oenologist, I started making juices & nectars 15 years ago, in 2004.
My husband is president of a berry co-operative of around fifty producers and he was looking for a way to use surplus fruit, given the falling demand for crème de cassis.
We came up with the idea of turning it into a particularly fragrant nectar, with a lot of character! The range was gradually extended to other varieties. Since 2016, we have been selecting fruit for La Grande Epicerie de Paris that is exclusively produced in France, with a strong regional identity, including raspberries from Aquitaine, apricots from Bergeron and mirabelle plums from Lorraine.
The producers we work with are committed to supplying us with high quality fruit, picked when it is perfectly ripe, so all our work revolves around the fruit. It is also worth noting that our nectars are richer in fruit than the minimum imposed by regulations.
Have you adapted certain stages of the wine-making process to making juices & nectars for La Grande Epicerie de Paris?
Yes. For example, we use the same juice extractor, which is kinder to the fruit than a conventional juicer. It performs less well but allows only the best and therefore the sweetest part of the fruit to be collected. Pressing is crucial to producing a good juice. If the fruit is good quality and well pressed, the resulting juice is bound to be good!
How are the juices & nectars for La Grande Epicerie de Paris manufactured?
They are produced mainly in summer. The harvests are delivered one after the other and are processed on arrival. This means we can make the most of the fruit immediately after it’s picked.
The fruit is then washed, pressed and pasteurised. The freshly made juices and purees are kept until our recipes are completed. Some juices, including blackcurrant, are filtered again before bottling.
What are the main differences between a nectar and a juice?
Juice comes from fruit that can be pressed and drunk immediately, such as oranges, grapefruits or apples.
Nectar comes from fruit that is too acid or astringent to be drunk as it is, or fruit that doesn’t produce juice, like peaches and apricots. In this case, we extract the pulp to create a fruit purée. This is then diluted with a little water and then rebalanced with a little sugar.
Nectars are often not as sweet as juice. Nature determines the sugar content of juice, while we can adjust that of our nectars ourselves.
Tell us about the range: which are the most iconic and the most unusual juices?
The range includes over 10 juices and nectars. It will be expanded next September with the arrival of a few new ones including prune juice. Iconic ones of course include the blackcurrant nectar that started it all!
The most unusual recipe is undoubtedly the Provence tomato juice, which is combined with an Espelette pepper cream. This is a very high quality and richly flavoursome product. It can be enjoyed chilled, as an aperitif, or used as the base for a Bloody Mary cocktail for example.