Another food story from El Bolsón: the berries. (You could write food stories about this place until the end of time). Not only do they contribute to the delicious ice cream flavours one can find down here, they make for an impressive array of jams. One can easily find a wide variety of jams around, sometimes at the supermarkets but mostly at the thrice-weekly artisan market in the middle of town. Pictured here are ones that we bought or were bought by friends (l to r): rosa mosqueta (rose hip), sauco (elderberry), guinda y frambuesa (sour cherry and raspberry), and rubarbo (rhubarb – my new favourite kind of jam). One could also find cassis (black currant), grosella (red currant or gooseberry – there seems to be more berries than words in Spanish at times), mora (mulberry), and of course, your more common flavours of strawberry and the like. We ate like kings – jam #ell a$$ kings.
Taking inspiration from all this conservation of fruit, we tried making our own jam on the farm. Why not? There was plenty of fruit literally falling off of the tree it was so ripe (mulberries and sour cherries) and it would probably just go to waste if not eaten. The day that we sat and destoned 22 cups of sour cherries pushed me to the limit, but we got through it and successfully turned out about 7 litres of jam during our entire time at the farm.
The first time we made a mixed jam – sour cherry and mulberry – which turned out so good that the two jars we made disappeared in about three days (it was shared by nine people, to be fair). I loved picking the fruit, preparing it, even the hours of constant stirring over a low flame to coax the most juice out of the berries (I did a lot of reading while stirring). It all seemed so worth it when we could point to the jar and say, “That’s ours. We made it.”
The second batch consisted entirely of sour cherries and suffered a bit from a lack of solidity. We had tried using the stones as a natural source of pectin (lemon juice and rind was the source in our first batch), but it didn’t work as well. The jam was still good and enjoyed by all, however.
Lastly, as a side note, we found a waffle emporium in the market in El Bolsón. He used jams, fruits, and even savoury ingredients to create some of the most incredible waffles I have ever tasted in my life. Tee cheese and salami tasted like a cloud-like pizza, while the fruit ones with cream were sinfully delicious. We were at the market three days and had the waffles each time. Another El Bolsón reminder – don’t forget the waffle guy.