Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jelly-Bellied

The Divine Italian is back from six days in London. I am so proud of him because after 13 years of marriage, he has finally realized how to guarantee himself a stress-free homecoming: Bring preserves.

If you have read my previous post on jam, you will know exactly how I felt when he opened his suitcase and pulled out these.
Five jars of Fortnum and Mason sweet jelly. Can you hear the angels singing?

First up was Lavender Jelly, "ideal for serving with shortbread or as an alternative to mint jelly with roast lamb." (Descriptions are from the F&M website, which I have practically memorized.)

Then came Rose Geranium Jelly, "an inspiring alternative to icing on cupcakes and surprising as a natural sweetener in homemade smoothies."

Then Pomegranate Jelly, recommended with marinated duck so that "it acquires just the right degree of sticky crispness. Or for pudding paradise, drizzle it over your favorite ice cream."

Then Violet Jelly, "for a sophisticated Victoria sponge, or scones and clotted cream."

And last but not least, Fortmason Jelly, a distinctive blend which "adds joy to fig and almond tarts and is also jolly good on pancakes."

I didn't know where to begin. On one hand, I wanted to pull an Augustus Gloop and greedily plunge my finger into each one. On the other hand, once opened, the jellies would have to be refrigerated. Considering the fact that our fridge was already bursting with preserves, I realized that adding five more to the shelves would not be an appealing prospect for my husband.

So I thought. And I thought. And after racking my brains and massaging my temples in an earnest attempt to think rationally, I decided to open just one jar.

I chose Lavender.
I gently unscrewed the top until I heard a heart-quickening pop that signalled the pressure seal had been broken.

There was no going back now.

I took off the lid and peered inside. There, floating in a heavenly suspension, were actual lavender flowers. I don't believe in paranormal phenomena, but I swear a shaft of light hit the jar at just that moment. (Cue angels.)

I took a tiny spoon and lifted a tiny spoonful to my mouth.

The effect was instantaneous. I was no longer in my kitchen. I was running through an endless field of purple flowers. I was encircled by a fragrant Provençal wind. I was cocooned in sweet sophistication. I was in la vie bohéme.

"Mom! Daddy wants to know if you're coming in the pool with us."

Reverie broken.

"Coming."

I carefully replaced the lid and carried it over to the refrigerator, giving it pride of place on the top shelf.

It would wait for me. And after I had exhausted its supply of pectinous magic, there were four others patiently waiting in the wings. Oh, but for life's small thrills.

31 comments:

sherry ♥ lee said...

So breathtaking...the photography and the prose...opening just the one jar...this whole post makes me feel lighter than air on a humid, foggy, not quite ready to rain day. Thank you for that!

Daily Classic said...

Oh how we love life's simple pleasures!! Great plan of attack.. one jar at time! Thanks!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

small thrills indeed -i know just how you feel! I always think bring jellies home from GB and tea home from France. The best of both worlds!

The Consummate Hostess said...

Yum! Does it get any better than rose geranium, violet and lavender jelly? I think not. Enjoy!

Laura [What I Like] said...

What a wonderful floral bouquet! How funny that I just this morning opened the first of four jars of Fortnum and Mason jam that I brought home with me in July. Although my Damson Plum is considerably less exotic than your collection!

pve design said...

small thrills = utopia!
I somehow envisioned you locked away in some sort of pantry covered in jelly...decadence lives.
pve

Gruvkitty said...

Mmmm...yum. This summer I brought back from England Wiltshire honey and some old fashioned orange marmalade for my in-laws. The sad thing is they will probably not eat it (too many carbs) - certainly they won't enjoy it as much as you enjoy yours. There must have been 4 honeys and about 6 marmalades for me to chose from. It looked delectable!

What a divine Itaian you have there.

CashmereLibrarian said...

So unfair, why can't we buy this ambrosia here in the States??! What happened to globalism? Sadly I'm not going to London anytime soon.

C.T. said...

You took me away with you! Superb written my dear. Hhmmm.....You lucky woman.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh I share your delectable passion. I am often to be found, google eyed, standing in front of a line of jams. And of course, the best are found at Fortnums.

Marian Quanbeck Dahlberg said...

My saliva glands ache from phantom tartness. Do you have enough to share with the whole class?

Gigi said...

The lavender would have been my choice, too. Absolutely gorgeous. There are few things more satisfying than a really good jar of jelly. I love a man who thinks of jam.

Helen James said...

so beautifully written.... I had my silver teaspoon poised for a taster!!! Do you also love Charbonnel & Walker Rose and Violet creams? Yum!

Simply Mel said...

I'm still drooling over the thoughts of the Pomegranate! However, seeing the purple flowers in the jar of Lavender makes my heart flitter just a wee bit too!

Lisa said...

You always make my day when you make a post. Today had me licking my lips. What a great husband - a "keeper" - like mine.

laurakitty said...

Those descriptions are really quite remarkable- and they've definitely done their job as I will be rushing to Fortnam's the next time I am home in London to purchase them all.

penelope said...

i think you are fabulously funny.....

home before dark said...

Life so well preserved. Enjoy the goodies and the good love behind the gift.

Angie Muresan said...

What an absolutely lovely husband you have! Do post recipes and photos if you ever decide to use the jellies in cooking?

Caro said...

I have to admit since living in Australia, if the devil wanted to visit I'd let him in if he were carrying a jar of Frank Cooper's Fine Cut Oxford Marmalade. The supply over here can be a little sporadic. Keep your flowers and your chocky. Give me something to spread on my toast!

Julie Anne Rhodes said...

Can we clone the divine Italian? Heavenly gift!!! I'm not sure I would have your self-discipline though...I'd have to buy another fridge and indulge.

A Super Dilettante said...

The Divine Italian is so wonderfully thoughtful. Fortnum and Mason jam is just a thing. It's quality my dear! Just across the street from F&M is the Royal Academy of Arts, wouldn't it be lovely to bottle it up and send it to you a jar too?

miss cavendish said...

Ohh--I remember taking my 11-month old daughter to tea and F&M. I recall that I even nursed her there discretely, and the ladies who served me came over and complimented me on doing so!

vicki archer said...

A perfect gift... Have a wonderful weekend, xv.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's fair to taunt us like this unless the Divine Italian brought enough to share with the entire class. (I kid, I kid.)

You lucky thing! I would have been hard-pressed to choose between the lavender and pomegranate.

skirmishofwit said...

I was inspired by this post to go and get myself some Rose Petal Jam from F&M today - delicious!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hello, Lisa-


Loved this. And that is true devotion to carry 5 jars of sticky and heavy jars of jam home to one's beloved. Bravo for that.
Please send us an update on each flavor...though the lavender was pretty great.
makes me want to dash over to London and stock up.
Beautiful.
happy days, www.thestylesaloniste.com

Maria said...

Great writing and yummy! I will ask my Italian if he can bring me something like that; but I bet if I do, he will say: I can make you something!It is going to be fresh...

Bonnie said...

Just discovered your fabulous blog and wanted to say hello! We are practically neighbors as I live in Hollywood too! Your blog is so lovely filled with so many beautiful pictures and stories. The jellies just reminded me of little finger sandwiches with cream cheese and mint jelly. Something my mom used to make, that I haven't thought of since childhood. What a sweet memory!

Andee Layne said...

the simple things in life! They sound amazing! great blog! Please check out my fashion and lfestyle blog www.andeelayne.blogspot.com. Follow mine as i will yours! xo

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