Saturday, August 1, 2009

Black Forest Jam: Dessert Jam for Grownups

I'm a big fan of Nutella. I love its sensuous creaminess, the blend of chocolate and hazelnuts that creates its own unique flavor sensation. So, when I took a long spoonful of the Black Forest jam that sent me, I was surprised to find myself thinking that my Nutella days may be numbered in favor of this delicious spread.

The people who make this jam, Sunchowder's Emporia, have taken individual ingredients that are marvelous by themselves--blackberries, Callebaut chocolate, and Chambord--mixed in a little sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, and created a thick, luscious spread that can be eaten by the spoonful, on toast, or, in fact, used in any recipe for which you would use Nutella.

"Jam" is really a misnomer. It's the smooth, rich chocolate that shines here. The chunks of blackberries, along with the lemon zest, add brightness and the undertones of the Chambord's raspberry flavor bring an element of complexity to the flavor.

This is a spread worthy of a warm home-baked scone or a stack of crepes. It would make a smooth filling for meringue cookies or perfect atop a scoop of French vanilla ice cream. I've enjoyed it on my favorite cracked wheat sourdough toast. It made for a decadent breakfast along with a cup of cafe au lait. Now, though, I'm envisioning a Black Forest Jam pannini using home-baked challah.

You can find the Black Forest Jam on the website, along with several other preserves and butters that Florida-based Sunchowder's Emporia makes. None of their products include corn syrup, commercial pectin, or preservatives, and they have a penchant for mixing and matching surprising ingredients with great success.

1 comment:

  1. Being both a hazelnut and chocolate lover, I used to be a Nutella fan after my introduction to it in 1980 while on an exchange program in Spain. But the hydrogenated oil and other nasties put me off Nutella a few years ago.

    Actually, it's pretty easy to make a pretty good homemade version of Nutella, with real wholesome ingredients and without need for a food chemistry lab. A food processor does help, though. There are several online recipes that look pretty good, but this is the one I have tried.

    No, it isn't an exact clone of Nutella - it isn't quite as smooth, for example. But if you love hazelnut chocolate flavor combos and are so over fake fats like hydrogenated soybean oil, it might be worth trying a homemade batch or two.