When Global Meets Local
Black Fruit Jam
Blackberries, jabuticaba, sugar, lemon
White cheese, fresh bread, toast, cachaça, curd
A deep-so-deep violet it almost looks black. So black one could savor it singing the first verses of “The Music of the Night.” This jam has a mysterious feel due to the slight astringent taste of jabuticaba mixed with the body of blackberry. It is intentionally not too sweet so as to appeal to those who prefer a more tart taste. It spreads very well on white cheese, fresh bread and toast. Use it to compose amazing cocktails; its purple color and nuanced flavor makes cachaça a sensuous experience.
My mother is part of the first generation of women who worked outside of the home in Brazil. As such, much of my childhood was spent with my grandma. Lucky me because at once I learnt the importance of being independent like my mom, but also learnt how to cook observing my grandma. She had a tiny, messy kitchen but it was amazing that no matter the day or the hour you arrived at her place, there was always good food waiting. I remember spring afternoons when she used to make jabuticaba jam, juice and liquor, which she happily shared with friends and relatives. I liked juice but the jam was my favorite. I loved to see her taking care of the huge caldron that not rarely boiled over creating even more of a mess in the kitchen. So I grew up and got old and now part of my work is cooking jabuticaba with blackberry jam, mashing up what I learnt from grandma and mom. Yes, yes… we always go back to our origins!
The blackberry plant is a temperate-to-subtropical one grown all over the world. Rich in antioxidants, these berries are considered superfoods.
Jabuticaba is endemic to Brazil, which means they are found here and nowhere else in its wild state. They occur naturally in the Southeastern Region of the country, originally native to savannah habitats and now growing in backyards. It is not yet a fully domesticated plant. Its fruit has a very short shelf-life making it difficult to get to market. Rich in natural antioxidants and very tasty, jabuticaba is used to make preserves, jams, sauces and even beer.