Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jam Trouble - Paris Sketch Letter

It's that time of the month again when I go through torture creating the newest Paris Sketch Letter.

Inspiration for October's letter came last Spring when Coco Jobard showed off her wonderful old Alsatian jam(confiture) dish towel. Jars of luscious fruity jam spell Fall to me. I'm crazy for the hand-written labels, the fluted glass jars. Jam on toast or a croissant plus tea and a good book is the best no?

But researching jam for 3+ weeks is maybe not the best kind of immersion for the easily tempted.

These jam hats (chapeau pot de confiture) made me swoon. You can find a wonderful variety of hats on Littlemarket.com.

Some of the best hats are worn on the best jam made in France by Alsatian Christine Ferber. She hand-ladles her heavenly jams into each pot to maintain quality. I dream of visiting her shop in Niedermorschwihr if I ever figure out how to pronounce it. These jams are in the new Galerie Lafayette's Food department, moved across the street from the main store.

Three glorious floors of food boutiques and mini restaurants and everything is clearly marked out. Le Grand Epicerie feels like a maze since they redid it. I forever get lost and can't find what I want.

Do come prepared and wear battle gear to browse the huge jam department at Galeries.

If you plan to make jam yourself you'll need a different kind of armor.

Head over to Librairie Gourmands on 92, rue Montmartre 75002 for the best selection of cookbooks in Paris, two floors of them. some are in English. All of them gorgeous.

Their windows right now are full of jam cookbooks. I bought this one though I'll never lift a wooden spoon or stir strawberries in a copper pot. Look for 'cuit au chaudron' (cooked in a caldron) on the labels. Traditional copper pots are great conductors of heat. You want to cook your fruit quickly and evenly.

They have adorable boxed preserves sets with all the essential  accoutrement for jam-making. So tempting.

Researching jam requires a visit to La Chambres au Confitures. There's a new branch in the Marais.

Inside it's wall-to-wall jam divided into seasonal flavors. You can sample every jam in the place and I almost did before deciding on fig. See my sampling spoons below.

If you're like me and have 'impulse control issues' you'd best stick to collecting miniature jars of jam. Once a jam pot enters my house it's 'Gone Girl' in the blink of the eye.

Painting jam, on the other hand, is a perfectly safe activity for the jam-addicted. It is advisable to work from photographs rather than the real thing.

Frenchy script on jam jar labels (etiquettes) always intrigues me. My first banner for Parisbreakfast was a jam label. If you're mad for these little paper stickers the best source is BHV, second floor craft department.

I used mini jam jars to sketch from, to minimize the damage of wolfing down big jars of apricot jam in one fell swoop. Size matters.

Parisbreakfast readers often ask for old watercolor still lives so I decided I'd make the Sketch letters more washy.

Finally, after maybe too much jam research, the October letter is done and on it's way to you.

You can see ALL of the October letter uncovered on Etsy. If you've been resisting subscribing here's an enticement. A jar of pear jam (an original watercolor 4" x 6") sent as a bonus if you subscribe to the Paris Sketch Letters. This is the perfect time of year for jam don't you think.

40 comments:

  1. re: confiture: my favorites are P. Roger’s apricot with almonds, or anything by Marcolini , who only uses 20% sugar, and his jars are so chic.

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    Replies
    1. major news!
      I had NO idea Patrick Roger or Marcolini mad jam!
      Where have I been all these years?

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    2. Rosemary5:52 PM

      P.S. Love the artwork, gorgeous as usual

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  2. I too love your old luscious juicy watercolor still lives & I love how you incorporated that style into your October letter. Beautiful. That little chapeau table top is ADORABLE!! And like you, I love those etiquettes.
    Thought of you this weekend: we tried to go to J's Oyster Bar in Portland but it was WAY too crowded. A little something will coming to you via the US mail...

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  3. Great washes of lush color...and fun design

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  4. I am totally smitten with YOUR confitures:)
    OK and the minis..
    I love those..I put flowers in mine:)Coup de Coeur!!
    I am a jam/hat maker..and don't eat them..But Jacques does.
    It is such a pleasure..to cook and pot up.

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  5. Oh, Niedermorshwihr, home of the Jam Fairy! I adore Christine Ferber's jams, and spent an afternoon visiting last fall! http://www.vickiecunninghamphotography.blogspot.com/2013/09/france-day-three-part-deux.html

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  6. Paris Jam Trouble looks like exactly the sort of trouble I'd like to have! And three floors of deliciousness at Galeries Lafayette! Incroyable.

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  7. Clearly, you are not in a jam. Forgive me. I saw Christine Ferber on Martha Stewart, cooking a batch of jam inner Hermes scarf and instantly ordered her book. That must have been 10 years ago. Have I made any? Who cares? Sometimes the fantasy of reading about what I could do is just as good as doing it! That's why I love to read your posts!

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  8. Before I came to live in France I wasn't a great lover of jam, but French Confiture now that is a different matter, usually Bonne Maman. but love to buy the artisan speciality variety for special guests. Loved seeing how you put together your Paris Letter.

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  9. This post is simply wonderful! I love very much confiture, every morning I eat it with toast and tea, when I'am in Paris with baguette! I must go to the chambre au confitures! Helga

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    Replies
    1. I wish I knew how to eat jam sensibly just at breakfast...instead of all day long till it's gone!

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  10. Lovely, lovely! All that research in the name of art---you are truly dedicated. This month's sketch is just beautiful.

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    Replies
    1. Yes...dedication to jam requires great effort. And a spoon.

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  11. The watercolors look fabulous! I like the bright interior of the jam store, too - and the shoppers!

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  12. Thanks for the wonderful post! I am jam obsessed, so my friend told me this past week end as I purchased yet another jar, lol. I love to use it in sauces for dinner. I"m open to trying just about any flavor, my favorite lately is fig & orange, oh yum! Can't wait to get October's sketch letter, simply beautiful !

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  13. Cindy Rieth9:05 AM

    Carol, loving my sketches, finally have the first four framed and hanging in the kitchen with plenty of room for the next eight with the last one hanging next to the painting you did of my daughter and I and our two dogs!

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    1. Lovely news Cindy!
      October's jam letter should make a good addition.
      I'd love to see a photo oh your collection.
      Why haven't I done this? Hmmm

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  14. delight after delight............ wonderful stuff, each and everyone of your pixies (except the first) - I second your 'tartine,comfiture and a book' are the best!!!

    pronounce Niedermorschwihr like this:
    Needermorschweer ... OR.... invite me to come along with you - I'm definitely the 'confiture queen' of all times - why even use a tartine as a carrying board if you can just eat the spread with a laddle!?!?!?!?!?! :)
    Tell me how you get along - I'm all yours!
    Kiki

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  15. Also I agree that when in France, one MUST eat loads and loads of confiture. They truly make the best stuff and there are SO many different styles on sale. I personally love the artisanal confitures, yes the ones cooked in copper caldrons and with far more fruit than sugar. Delicious and wonderful. Bring them regularly as guest tokens when visiting Switzerland, England and Germany.

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  16. I have no idea why -- when I was in Canada last week -- I came home with four jars of jam -- and while I like jam on my toast, I don't eat it all that often! I'm still trying to find here something I discovered in France -- thought it would be easy. Le Bonne Matin brand is all over the states. And they have a lot of flavors but nowhere here or in Ontario have I found "Citron." Ugh. Methinks shipping a case from France will be too pricey! Looking forward to this month's sketch. (By the way, you should market your design to tea towel manufacturers. Yes, I know, you probably already thought of that!)

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  17. Yum! Just last week my "sous chef" and I (hubby, of course) made plum jam, plum AND raspberry jam, and peach jam. The plum and raspberry is the best of the three. It's some work sterilizing all the jars and tops and rings but once you get that done it's actually easy to make jam. I plan NOT to buy commercial jam again very soon. But...I could not resist a cute jar of Ginger jam from "The Ginger People." The fact that it says "made in China" put me off a little but, oh well, we are eating it and loving it. I am too chatty this am, I know.
    I have been looking on Google to see HOW and IF I can reuse my Bonne Maman jam jars. I wish I could but I guess the lid won't seal properly the second time it's used. Too bad.
    I do love your watercolors, Carol! I am thinking about subscribing. I know it would be a BIG thrill to receive a parcel from France. When I get books that come by "Royal Mail," I am thrilled, also.
    Yes, easily thrilled I am.

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    Replies
    1. Ginger jam from The Ginger people!
      That sounds wonderful. I buy crystalysed ginger here all the time in Chinatown.

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  18. Wonderful, as always. xoxo Carol

    Susan

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  19. Once upon a time I used to make all kinds of jams and jellies....AT this point, I live alone and don't need the calories! I'm looking forward to your letter, though...

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  20. Kathleen3:15 PM

    SWEEEEEET…..love it…immediately wanted toast, butter and raspberry jam!!! Avec café au lait!

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  21. Now we don't want you to experience torture! A change of attitude for November ? Rain perhaps!

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    Replies
    1. Bindy, I'm not alone. Most or many artists go through somersaults producing a piece of art. Then again, for some it's a piece of cake. I love it when it just flows. But mostly there is a bit of head banging before the light bulb goes on. The so-called 'Creative Process' everyone raves about.
      "90% perspiration" as Woody Allen put so well.

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  22. I have Christine Ferber's book Les Confitures and did pick up some of her jelly at Le Grande Epicerie @ Le Bon Marche. Plus I picked up some more jams up at Galeries Lafayette, including a fig one. I sent all of these home in the mail and am anxiously awaiting their arrival. Now I just love your jam drawings and watercolors. The best part is I learn all these cool places to go through from this Paris Breakfasts blog that I wouldn't otherwise know about (i.e. Le Bonbon au Palais). I had Librairie Gourmande on my list of "go to" places, I didn't make it there on my trip this time. But I can see I am going to make sure I get there next year! I want the jam Paris letters, so I went to Etsy and placed an order for the year subscription. Can't wait to get mine in the mail!

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  23. Anonymous5:29 PM

    The first ParisBreakfasts blog I read was the Rose Petals Confitures. A friend picked one up for me in Paris and I can only say, "More! More! More!" Thanks Carol for all your efforts in keeping us all updated on Paris.
    Anddddd...how about that �� jean tie dye jean jacket in one of the photos !!! A DIY project in my crystal ball soon.

    Denise S./Winnetka, Il.

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  24. Obvious proof here that its only 1/2 about the bread and crust.
    And when I see that pear leaning against a jam pot, I swoon; Pear Jam!
    xx
    julie

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  25. magnifique et fabulous your jam sketches
    love it !!!!

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  26. Caroline10:44 PM

    WOWWWWWW that is absolutely beautiful!!!! I love the crisp clarity of it! Bigger individual paintings.....top notch:))). Shows off your artistic brilliance! You nailed this one. I love the way you paint a jar hahaha:)))

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  27. Beautiful! My husband and I absolutely love your artwork and what you are doing in Paris. We look forward to your package every month, and we'll be renewing our subscription. : )

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  28. Anonymous3:27 PM

    Christine Ferber Jams... Miam! But who is that very elegant lady standing outside La Chambre aux Confitures? That profile, that hair! That's a whole blog post by itself, non?

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    Replies
    1. You have a good eye Anonymous. What a great graphic top she's wearing!

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  29. Suzanne12:11 AM

    Every new month, I think "What is Carol going to send this month?".
    Love getting your letters!

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  30. Dorie7:35 AM

    I got your October letter today. Wonderful. Love it!

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  31. Wonderful post. La Chambre aux Confitures looks like a great place! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

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