Chez Christine Ferber

Chez Christine Ferber

Maxence and I are spending a few blissful and brightly sunny days, hidden out in my parents’ vacation house in the Vosges mountains. Today, we took a happy little daytrip to Alsace, the region just on the other side of the mountain, famous for its wines, its storks, and little houses with pointy roofs and exposed beams.

Amongst other fabulous things, what we did today was go on a pilgrimage to Niedermorschwihr, the Alsacian village where Christine Ferber, whom I’ve mentioned before, officiates. This is where she makes her jams, and this is where she sells them, in a little boulangerie-pâtisserie named Au Relais des Trois Epis.

Needless to say, I had been dying to go there ever since I learned about it, and grew increasingly excited as we neared the little village. We parked on the tiny church square, got out of the car and were instantly enraptured by the powerful and sweet fruit smells coming from a small ground-floor window, through which we could see “the lab”.

We stepped inside the store, which seems to operate as the sole grocery store in the village, selling bread, a small assortment of pastries, some charcuterie, dried goods, an array of typical Alsacian ceramic dishes, a few magazines, some postcards, and… the whole collection of the books Christine Ferber has written or participated in.

There was also a large table loaded with an army of sujets en pâte d’amande, those tiny animals made of marzipan. I used to adore these when I was a child, and my grandmother used to buy them for me every time she came to visit. I loved them so I had the hardest time bringing myself to eat them, although pâte d’amande was — and still is — one of my favorite things in the world. Christine’s were strikingly beautiful and expressive, looking up at you like cute puppies, begging you to adopt them.

And of course, two of the walls were lined with shelves and filled with what makes Christine Ferber’s international reputation and fame : hundreds of jars of her confitures, with their signature polka-dotted hats and little ribbons, in more varieties than I had ever seen before.

I spent an inordinate amount of time studying all of the flavors, while Maxence was waiting, with the patience of an angel and a camera, for me to make up my mind.

What did I get? Well, I limited myself to six jars — quite heroically I might add — some for my own enjoyment, some to give out as presents : confiture de mirabelles, confiture de quetsches (mirabelles and quetsches being the two most emblematic kinds of plum from Alsace), confiture de framboise à la violette (raspberry and violet), confiture de myrtille (blueberry), confiture de cassis à la violette (blackcurrant and violet), and confiture de tomates vertes à l’orange aux épices de pain d’épices (green tomatoes and orange with pain d’épice spices).

We also got a slice of a delicious blueberry tart (though not as delicious as my mother’s), which we shared in the car, me beaming with joy at the simple thought of my six treasured little jars safely tucked away on the back seat.

Christine Ferber

18 rue des Trois Epis
68230 Niedermorschwihr
03 89 27 05 69

  • http://loveandcooking.blogspot.com Charlotte

    This sounds like a wonderful trip!

    Clotilde, is her recipe book still available? If so I’d be interested in working out some kind of deal to get one. My understanding of written French is not bad.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/tea_cantata/ nattie

    Oh my god, excuse me while I just *die*. (*dies* *revives herself*) That sounds like utter, utter heaven – jam with violets? Marzipan things? Oh, *my*.

  • http://atourtable.blogspot.com Linda

    Thanks for taking us on this adventure, Clotilde. Sounds like such a fun day with delicious taste treats yet to enjoy!

  • http://su-lin.blogspot.com Su-Lin

    Oh my goodness! Aren’t the monkeys the cutest things?

    Does the violet flavour come through in the jams? I’m just wondering since blackcurrant jam always seems quite powerful to me…

  • http://cascatel.free.fr JoYa

    J’imagine combien le choix a du être difficile (pfff, on a pas le même problème aux Gal Laf Gourmet) … Le pot que je viens d’entamer, Mirabelles à la Cardamome, est un vrai délice. Merci pour les photos. As tu déjà goûté les confitures de La Mère de Famille ? Très, très bonnes également.

  • wam

    Su-Lin> violet is powerful ; when well used, it’s a marvel : I mix violet syrup with Cola … and then pour some whisky.

    Clotilde> thank you so much for this tour in Alsace ! I love your blog.

  • http://www.contentedthreads.com Wendy

    Oooooh, your visit sounds wonderful! I’ve no idea how you limited yourself to so few jars, nor how you pulled yourself away from the store itself.

    I’ve been working my way thru her jam/jelly cookbook this year — and my pantry has never looked so good. I can only imagine what the store must be like.

  • http://chezpim.typepad.com Pim

    Clotilde,

    I am so jealous. You bought all my favorites, except for the tomates vertes that I haven’t tried yet.

    I am now down to one in the fridge, having been generous and gave a few away, anticipating my work trip to Paris (that kept getting postponed!). What am I going to do when I run out?

    You can get them in Paris at Pierre Hermé as well, do you know? I’ve also seen them at café Constant. And for those of you in London, Liberty has loads of them.

    cheers,
    Pim

  • Pat

    Clotilde,
    Sounds wonderful. My mother’s favorite jam is aux Mirabelles but I cannot find any here in the States. Does Au Relais have a way to order the jams or is there a distributor for them here?
    Love the blog. Read it every day and drool just a bit!…Reminds me so much of my native France as a little girl.

  • http://seattlebonvivant.typepad.com Seattle Bon Vivant

    Wonderful! What a lovely visit that must have been! A wall of jams! Dreamy! I’m almost running out of the Ferber jams I got last April at Pierre Hermé. Guess it is time to go back to Paris to get more. Wait! I *am* going back to Paris in 12 days! Yay! :-)

  • kelli ann

    *swoon*
    never thought i’d get a pang over a pastry shop! i am so glad that you posted about her store! i have charged my brother-in-law with the purchase of no less than 3 books at the fnac to send along to montreal.

    rock stars don’t do anything for me, but the lovely cookbooks by marabout make my heart beat faster!!
    -k

  • judy

    Hi clotilde!
    Your piece on Christine Ferber brought back fond memories. In 1996, my husband & I toured France. Alsace was on our itinerary & having read about Christine, I made it a point to visit the little town of Niedermorschwihr to visit her shop. Alas! It was a Monday & the shop was closed. I spotted a lady in a white coat washing her car outside her shop & asked (in my broken French) if she was Christine – she nodded! We conversed for a while before she disappeared into her shop and came out with a bottle of jam. The charming lady refused to accept any payment for the lovely bottle of “fraise du bois” jam and I was beyond words. When I returned home, I wrote to thank her but did not hear from her. I still remember her and the delicious jam. Thanks again Clotilde!

  • Jules

    Hi. Do you know is there any way to order Christine Ferber’ Jam from the United States ?

  • Julie

    Clotilde-
    I am so thrilled to have discovered your blog! Where have I been all these years? Anyway, I am coming to France on vacation for two weeks this summer, and would love to make a side trip from Paris to the village where Christine Ferber lives and works. I have been enamored of “Mes Confitures” and have cooked up many of her recipes using California versions of her fruits. Would you be able to give me a basic idea of how to find her parents’ patisserie so I, too, can make a pilgrimage? Nearest large town, etc? Thanks… your blog is a wonder!

  • Andi*

    LOVE that jam…YUMMM.
    but in the United States hard to fine….
    Now living in Vegas…..
    Clotilde,do you know of any food blogs written from Vegas…I have no clue where to find foodies here….
    I Love to cook,but unless you go into the strip restaurants and believe me we do…..
    I SWEAR NO ONE COOKS HERE….sadly….

  • Nancy Edmunds

    I am also wondering if there is any way to order Christine Ferber confitures in the United States. I was given one jar as a gift, and I have been trying desperately to find a way to order more. If you (or anyone) knows of a way to obtain this wonderful confiture here in the U.S., I would be most grateful for the information. Thank you, Nancy Edmunds

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  • http://www.6-besh.co.il אתר משחקים

    Niedermorschwihr to visit her shop. Alas! It was a Monday & the shop was closed. I spotted a lady in a white coat washing her car outside her shop & asked (in my broken French) if she was Christine

  • myrti

    ca fait plaisir d’entendre parler de mon village comme ça.. c’est toujours étonnant, même quand on sais combien elle est connue (Christine). Les confitures sont toujours aussi bonnes!! A part ça, le site est très sympa =)

  • Lois Feld

    I am sorry but I am writing about a different subject. I have acquired a painting by an M. Ferber and I am trying to trace it’s origins. Can you be of any help?
    Lois

  • Jimena

    I’m a fan of Christine Ferber’s jam book too and have delighted myself and friends with a number of her recipes. Here in Tasmania we get lots of seasonal fruits for jam making. To all those wanting to order jams online there is a Christine Ferber website which has ALL the varieties available. You can click on the English icon at the end if the French is too tricky for you. Drool, drool.

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