Christine Ferber Jams

Over the summer, Maxence and I spent a few blissful, brightly sunny days hiding out in my parents’ vacation house in the Vosges mountains. One day, we took a day trip 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.

We went on a pilgrimage to Niedermorschwihr, the Alsacian village where Christine Ferber, whom I’ve mentioned before, officiates. This is where the Jam Fairy makes the best French jams, and this is where she sells them, in a little bakery named Au Relais des Trois Epis.

I had been dying to go there ever since I learned about it, and grew increasingly excited as we neared the village. We parked on the tiny church square, got out of the car and were instantly knocked off our feet by the intense fruit smells. They were coming out of a small ground floor window in the back of the shop, through which we could see the lab where the magic happens.

{A cat is hiding in the picture. Can you spot it?}

Somebody’s pet is hiding in the picture. Can you spot it?

We stepped inside the shop, which also operates as the sole grocery store for the village, selling bread, a small assortment of pastries, some charcuterie, dried goods, an array of typical Alsatian ceramic dishes, a few magazines, some postcards, and the entire 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 marzipan figures. I used to adore these as a child, and my grandmother would buy them for me every time she came to visit. I loved them so much I couldn’t bring myself to eat them, although pâte d’amande was (and still is) one of my favorite things in the world. Christine’s were strikingly expressive, looking up at you like cute puppies, wagging their tails and begging you to adopt them.

Marzipan figures

Last but certainly not least, two of the walls were lined with shelves filled with what makes Christine Ferber’s international reputation and fame: hundreds of jars of her French jams, 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. the. flavors. while Maxence was waiting with the patience of an angel for me to make up my mind.

Heroically, I limited myself to six jars. Some for my own enjoyment, some to give away 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).

Christine Ferber Jams

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

Note: I recommend her recipe book of jams, Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber, which I own in its French edition and have used multiple times with great success.

Christine Ferber
18 rue des Trois Epis
68230 Niedermorschwihr
+33 (0)3 89 27 05 69

This post was first published in September 2004 and updated in September 2016.

  • 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.

  • 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*.

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

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • We made the trek to Niedermorschwihr a few summers ago too based on Dorie Greenspan’s recommendation. It is a magical place, that shop! I always pick up a few Ferber jams when I am in Paris now :)

  • Peppermint Dolly

    Loved your “heroically” line – definitely gave me a giggle!

    Rxx
    http://www.peppermintdolly.com

  • Patty Baker

    You can buy her jams at borneconfections.com in the USA. Just a small collection. I have her books and use them often.

    • That’s good to know, thank you Patty! Have you tried any?

      • Patty Baker

        Yes, I tried the Cassis d’Alsace and the strawberry. They were both very good.

  • gildedviolets

    I just finished her fig and vanilla bean yesterday. I made the white fig and pear years ago, cooked it too much, so it was a bit stiff, but it was so good. I plan on picking more figs so Maybe I will have all of her fig recipes buy the end of the season. I love her books.

  • Victoria

    I made one of the plum jam recipes with my greengage plums. It won second prize for plum jam at our local fair this summer! I have made many of the recipes. The only difference is that I can them in a boiling water canner.

  • Marie Gillam

    I will be doing her green tomato jam this weekend. I did it for the first time last year and we all loved it!

    • Wonderful. Would you overnight me a jar when you’re done? ;)

      • Marie Gillam

        Etant française et vivant aux USA, je me ferais une joie de vous faire parvenir un pot ! Si vous voulez bien partager vos coordonnées en message privé, ce sera chose faite !

  • Great post, love visiting food markets everywhere go travel. It gives a understanding of the food culture in the country I visit.

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