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Christine Ferber in the Alsace, fairy-tale jam and pastry to die for

Ever so faithful to their tradition, it results in wonderful pastries and jams of unequalled flavour. I had the true pleasure to be their guest and had a taste of the magic happening at “Le relais des trois épis”.

The Vosges awaited me, so I tried to increase the distances the days before in order to have some more time to cross the “Col du Bonhomme”. The gps was sure to know a shorter way and led me through the toughest climb of the journey. Shorter, for sure, but what a crazy slope that was, up to 17% and more! Once up there, I treated myself to a nice piece of Quiche Lorraine, approaching the border with the Alsace Region I probably was the last opportunity to do so. And unlike what I expected, it was truly so tasteful…

The Alsace, literally meaning “foreign domain”, is quite different from the rest of France. As soon as I crossed the border, it stole my heart…
Arriving at Niedermorschwihr I was so generously received by the lovely Ferber family, it somehow felt like homecoming. And even though Christine Ferber’s jams are renowned up to Japan and its quality acknowledged by some of the greatest Chefs of France, they remain ever so humble and hospitable. This, combined with hard work and dedication is undoubtedly the key to high level artisan quality. To produce all these wonderful jams, delicious pastries and beautiful traditional breads, Christine Ferber is aided by her family and an impressive team of devoted bakers and pastry chefs. Being showed around in the atelier I clearly noticed they remain ever faithful to the tradition of already 4 generations of baking, that, for sure is the strength of the house, and reflects moreover the general atmosphere of the Alsace county. The jam is produced in small controllable batches of 5kg in copper basins to assure a high standard quality. And even though the demand exceeds production, they deliberately chose to maintain this level of production to be able to assure these high standards. That’s why each and every single one of the jars is still filled by Christine herself, rather than by a machine which wouldn’t be able to evenly distribute the whole fruits over the several jars.

Bruno Ferber, Christine’s brother in charge of the catering service, provided us with a delicious Choucroute Alsacienne for diner. And as Elisabeth Ferber’s oldest son Lucas was back from Cambridge University for a short period, she esteemed it to be the appropriate occasion to open a Riesling Grand Cru from a winegrower in the village of Lucas’ year of birth; 1990! That was without doubt the best Riesling I ever had in my entire life, it was so exceptional it even surprised the son of the winegrower when he was told it was a wine made by his father.

Breakfast was something to look forward to, as it would be the first time I could taste the famous jams and the traditional Kougelhopf bread. Anne-Catherine, Bruno’s wife, and Nicole, their ever so nice aunt, guided me through this lovely breakfast and had me to try the different flavours to discover my favourite ones. Such intense and pure flavours I have never tasted before in any jam, seriously, it brings up something magical. A guided tour around the atelier showed me why; the secret is in the passion for tradition and the respect for the natural seasonal produce.

After another generous diner with Nicole, and a good night of rest in a bed right above the working space, I could leave Niedermorschwihr with such a satisfied feeling and an amazing experience to cherish. Taking the sweet jars on my bike was quite inconvenient, but I had them sent directly at home to be savoured at every occasion. What more does one need than a nice loaf of bread with some creamy butter and delicious jam… Along with the jams, I bought a Kougelhopf mould, a recipe by Christine Ferber I’m most happy to share with you. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, I invite you to try the jams when you have the occasion…

Maison Ferber
Rue des Trois Epis 18,
68230 Niedermorschwihr
France
www.christineferber.com