Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fruit Garden: French-inspired Luxury Jams from Philippine Gardens

God’s love manifests in many ways, one is and the best of it all are fruit bearing trees.   Fruits for many a century have proved without doubt being the essential food of both man and animals having all the minerals and vitamins we all need to fight diseases and promote well-being, both served fresh or on a dish.   It is also said to be the cause of downfall of mankind from sin, which Eve have  tempted Adam into doing.   What could even be a more blessing was having different fruit bearing trees abound in our country.   Many products have arise, from the common dried fruits to the preserved or canned, from these heaven’s gifts.   Sad to say, most of our lands which used to be mango orchards, coconut groves and pineapple fields have gone transformation for marginal housing and commercial use.   With these are evolving citizen’s needs for  more nutritional foods to whatever staples are ample in the market or groceries, these are junk foods, carbo-loaded cholesterol-rich  products and chocolates.     And fruits which used to be free off a neighbor’s backyard are now no more.
Till one Frenchman who married a beautiful Filipina saw the bounty of fruits in the Philippine gardens.   But somehow longed for a simple craving,   who could not get satisfaction of, a taste of French jams.   Like  Pierre Marmonier, I also grew up with typical morning breads with butter, peanut butter and jams.   Though waking up with not the scent of brioche, baguette or croissant  but with hot Pan de Sal, and toasted American sliced bread.   There are jams in the supermarket, however only that which came from US (Smackers) have I taught myself to love, and if I’m so lucky enough to have my parents bring me Italian jams when they come to visit from Milan. 
There was one time that we had  a locally bought strawberry jam in the kitchen cabinet,  I knew I wouldn’t  like it on a good wheat bread I bought so I  kinda experimented on it.   Aside from my love with jam.  I also have this thing on peanut butter.   So I spread some jams  on one slice of the bread and had peanut butter on another and resulted to a PBnJ sandwich.   Since then we always have both those spreads on our pantry.  As I grew that love and incorporated in my baking.   As it was, I never had any success yet in using jams with my cakes or pastries, till I met The Fruit Garden Jams.   Once I did a chocolate cupcake with strawberry  preserves which came from Bagiuo by the way.  For me it was good, but my kids always has the last say to what ever I make in the kitchen.   It was so chewy and it looks as though it was hard and dense.   No it didn’t look like a cake, which should be moist and soft.   
So I was able to get a hold of these luxury in 120 g svelte jar, in ridiculously indulgent Mango Lavander and Strawberry Mint jams.  And walah, an amazing experiment sufficed my need for extravagant baking.   The Mango Lavander Cupcake.   
 It was a glorious day for jams, really!   As The Fruit Garden was publicly launched, with the encephalon Frenchman behind the products, Pierre Marmonier and his wife Rea, alongside media men from the tri-media.
And what could get even better than having it at the exquisite L'entrecote at BGC's Burgos Cirlce.   Last September 14, we gathered and were amazed at the stories behind how a man who saw an ideal concerning jams and fruits here in the Philippines with a tobacco-related profession is now inching its way  into the Philippine market.

I was one of the few who came early and it was nice to see the second floor all jazzed up with a scenic view of the other side of  Forbes Town.   Although a little frazzled about my daughter's health condition and not having to have a house-help for days, I didn't let this chance blow, of learning more about jams and its creator.    Indeed, I was not left dispirited.   Having to realize there is more to jams than having it for breakfast or snack as a spread.   As Chef Martin , owner and head chef of L'entrecote, showed us how a jam as luxurious as the Fruit Garden can modify a ho-hum dish into a gustatory pleasure, or a typical dessert into a celestial fare.
Let me soak up on what I meant about using jams or fruit preserves in other food stuffs.  Be baffled!
So you say, "hey where is the jam here?"   Like any bread, butter is the best partner, as in the phrase bread and butter (which means, how a person earns).   But Chef Martin Kaspar infused the Pineapple Coco Rhum in the butter.  Then you say, ahh this is dreamy.   Well I say it's a genius.   For butter lovers, once you've tasted this, you'll never revert back to plain old commercial butter.   To do this, soften your butter, don't make the mistake of melting it, it's going to be hard to incorporate the jam in it.   With an ample amount of softened butter and any Fruit Garden jam on a bowl, use an electric mixer to establish the desired mixture as seen on the picture.
As we are all beaten down with the bread and butter, having chats with other guest and occasional questions with Andrea, a large oval plate came in and was served to us.   The appetizers.   I started with the Gruyere Cheese Croquettes with Mango Spices jam.   The silky, sweet mango flavored dressing with a light note of spice was perfect for the crunchy, breaded cheese.  I love the slightly creamy texture and saltiness of the Swiss cheese blending with the jam dressing.
On the same plate were Foie Gras with Black Peppered Pineapple Jam and a little Melba toast standing on it.     Also, Goat Cheese Tartlet with Tomato Chutney on a bed of fresh lettuce and rippled Tomato Chutney and Pure Philippine Honey dressing poured on it.
If I got you wondering how a peppered Pineapple Jam taste, let me compose myself first as I think of how a tomato chutney gave me a whole new idea in dressing up my salads.   I'm sure in one way or another you have tried fresh sliced pineapples with coarse salt, funny it may seem to imagine if crushed black peppers are used instead of salt.   Let me tell you the taste of both dressing isn't as odd as may sound.   Just a tickling hint of spice for the pineapple is fine and the the sweetness of the pure tomato came out with a  wee tang on it.   Now how would it sound on a fried goat cheese?  All this paired with a glass of Laughing Lizard white wine.   Bliss!
Do you know the difference you make marinating chicken or pork with calamansi or lemon juice, say sauce and paprika?  The acidity of the juice sips in to the entire meat and taking any bitter taste off the meat  while giving it a hint of citrus goodness.   I did actually use orange juice on  few occasions to marinate my chicken with it along with other ingredients.   Expensive ingredients may spell exquisite.   Thus, the Duck Breast (marinated with orange jam) while Cointreau Orange Sauce was poured on to it, opened up a whole new deal in roasting meats.   Correct me if I'm wrong,  the sauce to meliorate the delectability  of the roast duck slices is a concoction of the Orange Jam and Cointreau, a liquor often used in making citrus sauce.     Though I never like the Polenta served with it, (the heck with it, I'm a Filipino and rice still is a great accompaniment for any savory meat dish)  the lightly greased green asparagus and the crispy "Wine Maker" Cheese were just enough to enjoy the dish all the more.   This time paired with sips of Misterio Cabernet Saugvinon.
Now this took me home, it was like hugging my mom on a cold night while resting on a clean soft white pillow having no care in the hustle and bustle of the world.  The two dessert jars may give you thoughts on Gerber, you know Gerber, the baby food?   But these two adorable jars carry with it extremely yummy Chocolate Mousse.   The other topped with Four Seasons Jam while the one on the right side has Fruit Cocktail Jam.   The whole lunch, a co-blogger, Chun and I were talking a lot about the menu and stuffs about blogging, till these were put on the table.   From the first spoon to the last, these got us speechless!   Ahaha, a mouthful of this will have any chattering mouth savoring the lovely smooth texture of the chocolate mouse with a slight mocha flavor made even more sumptuous with the fruity sensation from the Fruit Garden Jams.
There, hope this served as an enlightenment to all of us and welcome Marmonier's Fruit Garden Luxury Jams not only in our bread but in our kitchen.   The jams mentioned are just some of the variants they have to know more about these jams their information were added below.

The Fruit Garden

Facebook Account: Pierre Marmonier Marmonier (Fruit Garden)
Unit A, Bellagio 2
Forbes Town Center
Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City


  1. Jams galore! Is this some sort of fusion of french and Filipino culinary arts and techniques? Whatever the case is, it does spell EXQUISITE!

  2. @Mr.Tripster...:) Indeed! The word is "galore."
    Tnx a bunch for dropping by!

  3. You know me... basta anything about food I'M ALWAYS THERE. And I'm always here! hehehe...


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