If you have visited La Jolie recently, you may have noticed at the steps leading up to the shop, there is a small garden bed on your left where a little shrub now holds an interesting fruit. Many customers ask what this can be… especially in September, as they are bright yellow and quite beautiful. When we tell them it’s quince, there is often a puzzled expression. Understandably so, as this lovely fruit is little known in the current scheme of confitures and jams…but what an incredible discovery it is!!
Quince is believed to predate the apple, is thought to have been the fruit referred to in the Garden of Eden, and Greek mythology associates the quince with Aphrodite. It is quaintly referred to in the “Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear where…
“They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon.”
The botanical name for quince is Cydonia oblonga. It can be a tree form or an ornamental shrub. Both produce the edible fruit. It is hard, acidic and astringent while raw but turns red, tastes divine, and takes on an exquisite texture when cooked. It is excellent paired with cheese and delicious when cooked with meats.
It seems very apropos indeed that this month we have introduced from Modena Italy, the ‘Le Conserve della Nonna’ brand of quince confiture. In tune with the season, we hope that you delight as much as we do in enjoying this beautiful surprise with your favorite fromage!