A few weeks ago I was awakened before dawn by screaming smoke detectors. Like literally, they are the photoelectric kind that emit screeching beeps with a voice intoning “FireFireFire” in a way that makes you both want to run the hell away and take a baseball bat to them as you leave. They do the trick: no way are you going to sleep through….
Late spring 2017, and here is the latest for the fruits and flavors of les collines— please scroll down to the flavors for individual updates.
If you are really hankering for a flavor listed as sold out til… mailing or calling us or calling a store or two may find you a few jars!
For all our flavors, the fruits that go into those round jars– as well as being incredibly delicious– are very locally sourced, and picked at the height of ripeness.
We are committed not only to sourcing from our simply amazing small local farms and orchards for our star ingredient, fruit, but we also source local businesses here in the beautiful Hudson Valley and Taconics of eastern New York and Berkshire County in Massachusetts for our supporting cast as well. Teas (Harney & Sons, Millerton), all-natural pectin, organic sugar, vanilla beans (Guido’s in the Berkshires and Hawthorne Valley Farm, Ghent), pure cane sugar (Ginsberg’s, Hudson) to name a few. For fruit that must come from outside the Northeast, like Meyer lemons and our other citrus, we work with the wonderful, family-owned Guido’s Fresh Marketplace in Great Barrington. Our jars are American made, our labels and tags as well, and they are printed by local printers; help with design, when it exceeds our limited talents (!) comes from local artists.
Small batch is just that. Big pots on the stove that we stir by hand, measure by hand, jars that we fill and seal by hand. As often as not we have picked the fruit ourselves, and if quantities exceed immediate preserving capacity, into the freezer to hold. For jelly, we extract juice either by hanging the fruit in muslin bags, or steaming.
We have online ordering!!! Please link here to our very simple, very functional site– but stay on this page for information about flavors!!
In May 2016, we introduced our new size, the 13-ounce Mason jar. The 8-ounce globe now has a square-shoulder big brother as well as the much-loved adorable 2-serving, 1 2/3 ounce sampler. Our customers, stockists, and we are loving this lineup! The wider-mouth Masons offer the distinct advantage of allowing for a larger spoon!!
Stay tuned for variations…if a fruit does not harvest well in a given season, another may be up to bat. For example, sadly summer 2015’s gooseberry crop was sparse, leaving us with too few jars of that beauty of a tart jelly…but, plum stepped in to pinch hit and became a star in its own right.
Crabapple Jelly – the little fruit that launched les collines…a perfect blend of the sweet-tart of autumn, this jelly is a classic for roast pork or duck or game hen glaze—my favorite on hot buttered (lots of butter!!) toast!—or with an aged Gouda or Brie for bright canapés. An edible jewel, to brighten shortening days.
Cider Sage Jelly – handfuls of les collines fresh sage are simmered into a deep infusion, then mixed with local apple cider and a splash of fresh lemon juice. We love it with our Thanksgiving turkey—on the plate or on a sandwich of leftovers!—also great to glaze & serve with roast chicken or pork, alongside grilled sausage, with cheese or of course on your morning toast or scone! Awesome in a cheddar grilled cheese, with a strip or two of applewood smoked bacon, of course.
Quince Preserve – this preserve is based on cotignac d’Orléans, a specialty of the French city that is similar to Spanish membrillo. The quince are cooked whole, milled, then cooked again and brightened with fresh lemon juice & zest. A gorgeous pumpkin color, it is a classic paired with Manchego cheese, a perfect trio with very thin sliced Serrano ham. Delicious with most all cheeses and meats; my Spinone Nocci loves it by the spoonful!!
2016: Limited available
Meyer Lemon Rosemary Jelly – tart deliciousness! Meyer lemons, limes, and big sprigs of les collines fresh rosemary simmer together a good while for this jelly. A sure antidote to the winter blues and whatever ails you, its sunny citrusness with a note of piney rosemary is wonderful with chèvre—with roast or grilled lamb, poultry, duck, or pork—as a glaze for cedar plank salmon, a blueberry tart or Key lime pie—
Rhubarb Jelly – so pink, so pure, so good on hot buttered toast. The tart rhubarb flavor shines, and the guava color is a welcome salve to the eyes, especially in winter. Try with a soft-ripened goat cheese like Humboldt Fog, or a Stilton or Rocquefort, or alongside cold roast pork—but my favorite is to use for the best jelly donuts ever!!! Perfect sweet-tart taste of spring. 2017: not this year
Rhubarb Preserve with Vanilla Bean & Earl Grey – strong Earl Grey tea infusion with lots of fresh rhubarb and scraped Bourbon vanilla pods is perfetto on an afternoon scone with tea, to marinate and serve with pork tenderloin, as a sauce over ice cream—or as many say, direct from the jar…
2017: back in stock!!
Strawberry Preserve with Lapsang Suochong – one of our favorites– June’s best, with an intriguing smoky note from Lapsang Suochong tea, an ancient Chinese black tea whose leaves are smoke-dried over pine fires. Exquisite on vanilla ice cream or on pound cake with crème fraîche; pair with a sheep or a goat milk cheese like Humboldt Fog.
Sour Cherry Preserve – jewels of June, sweet-tart cherry pie in a jar! To serve with roast duck or goose, stir into crème fraîche to serve on lemon pound cake, make a classic pb&j—or of course just by the spoonful. Wonderful with many cheeses– try with a goat Gouda like Cypress Grove’s Midnight Moon. A beloved classic.
Gooseberry Jelly – this berry stands alone and has thorns to prove it!! In the currant family, gooseberries look like tiny Japanese lanterns (see a photo here). Their tartness is a perfect foil for shortcrust tarts and pairs beautifully with any nut butter. Try with Comté—or with a goat cheddar and pistachios—lovely as a glaze for cheesecake—
Black Raspberry Preserve – an oft-forgot berry. This preserve is rich with a zing of lemon and divine with a bit of brie in puff pastry, on a seared duck breast, or over buckwheat pancakes. Or spoon on fresh grilled peaches topped with vanilla ice cream for a fresh Melba.
Plum Jelly – we have been using two varieties of this sweet-tart stone fruit of high summer, red and Shiro. Shiro plums are a gorgeous sunny yellow but their juice, and jelly, is a pale blush color. In any shade plum jelly is just swell with your favorite nut butter, or stirred into Greek yogurt. Try with some fresh ricotta—or another young fresh cheese—and toasted almonds.
2017: possibly by end July
Black & Blue Preserve – From the heart of summer, the darkest gems– blueberries, blackberries, and black raspberries, or trois noirs as one francophone friend calls it– join forces for an intensely flavored and dense preserve. Like 3-berry pie, but more so…to pair with mascarpone or other soft fresh cheese– with sorbet and grilled fruit– and of course direct from the jar! My favorite is with fresh ricotta for breakfast, perfetto.
2017: expected August
Blackberry Jelly – a deep jewel from the cusp of August. The big seeds of this big berry are set aside and all the fruit essence retained in this dense, dark jelly. Perfect on a buttered English muffin—in a sauce for roast pork, or alongside a grilled steak—with mascarpone, amaretti & grilled peaches or toasted pound cake & vanilla ice cream—
2017: expected August
Concord Grape Preserve – Concord grape, need I say more? Fresh-off-the-vine Concords are simmered and milled to preserve more fruit and the quintessential flavor of early autumn and childhood that’s unlike any other. The classic for pb&j is also a revelation to the sophisticated palate—try with a blue cheese, or warm and drizzle on a duck breast or pork tenderloin.
2017: 2016 sold out; expected back September
Scots Bitter – for the serious bitter marmalade lover. Hand-cut Seville oranges are long-simmered and finished with Laphroaig 10-year Single Malt for a peaty, smoky note. Wonderful on buttered anything, in a marinade or glaze, on a nut butter sandwich, or simply, straight up!
2017: In! Extremely limited.
Chipped Pears – beautiful local pears & ginger– ginger now being grown locally in the Hudson Valley, Taconics and Berkshires– plus whole lemons become a preserve-marmalade with a kick. Try as a dip for grilled shrimp, or to glaze kebobs; try with a strong cheese like Époisses, or stir into a sweet potato purée.
2017: sold out
Quince Jelly – fragrant quince from the Berkshires and Columbia County. We simmer & strain these difficult but rewarding beauties for this special, lovely-hued jelly. Perfect to glaze chicken, or foie gras; serve with roast poultry or lamb. Try with chèvre & pears, or mascarpone & Marcona almonds.
2016: unavailable– preserve only this year
Heirloom Tomato Butter – Part jam, part magic, an old recipe card provided the inspiration for this not a butter at all glorious preserve that captures the essence of heirloom tomatoes. Slow, slow, slow simmered down with brown sugar and apple cider vinegar til it is a little like heirloom candy. With steak, on burgers, in mayo for your BLT, a ray of August year-round.
Hot Pepper Jelly – Long asked for, finally here, an irresistible blend of bell, sweet, and jalapeño peppers simmered with white vinegar and pure cane sugar. Southern style to serve over cream cheese, Northern style over chèvre, either way for a lively apéritif. Beautiful with roasts and cold meats, perfect on a cheese board. Mmmhmmm!! 2017: 2016 is nearly gone
Concord Grape Conserve – Take the amazing flavor of our Concord Grape Preserve and add the brightness of whole organic oranges along with the meaty crunch of walnuts, and you have this delicious conserve. Serve at breakfast, as a snack out of the jar, alongside cold meats or on a cheese board: this conserve goes everywhere and with its bright citrus notes feels especially satisfying in the cold winter months. Sold out
Ginger Preserve – Sweet-fiery, locally grown ginger is the star of this very special, limited edition ginger lovers’ preserve. In yogurt, with cheese, in stir fry, swirl into vanilla ice cream. A spoonful will cure whatever ails you xo
Onion Confit – As the French would say, miam! Onions super slow cook with herbs, aromatics and just enough brown sugar. With burgers, steaks, roasts, sandwiches, on cheese plates, this irresistible confit is just heavenly and will be a natural partner for our Heirloom Tomato Butter.
2017: expected August; Masons only
Lavender Jelly – If Provence were a jelly, this would be it. On buttered toast, to sandwich shortbreads, with chèvre rolled in herbes de Provence, with roast or grilled chicken or lamb, to glaze panna cotta. Made with culinary lavender from Lavenlair Farm in Whitehall, NY, this jelly is not to miss.
2017: In, and beautiful
les collines sources from
Don Baker Farm, Hudson • The Berry Farm, Chatham • Et Cetera Farm, Ghent • les collines, Craryville • Common Hands Farm, Ghent • Et Cetera Farm, Ghent • Greig Farm, Red Hook Harney & Sons Fine Teas, Millerton • Hawk Dance Farm, Hillsdale • Hawthorne Valley Farm, Ghent • Hilltop Orchards, Richmond, MA • Little Apple Farm, Hillsdale • Love Apple Farm, Ghent • Montgomery Place Orchards, Red Hook • Migliorelli Farm, Tivoli • Samascott Orchards, Kinderhook • Thompson-Finch Farm, Ancram • Tousey Farm, Clermont •
Yonderview Farm, Copake
For a printable list of all the flavors and tasting notes:
We are at full tilt of high season now, in the midst of a really gorgeous summer. The weather, spectacular, just enough hot and humid to make it real; a bit on the dry side but we’re good with it….
Traveling across New York State to Toronto last weekend brought me to the Peace Bridge, one of three spanning the Niagara and up river from the Falls….
The bittersweet high point of our week came from this photo, taken some months ago before a gathering in Malawi where les collines Cider Sage Jelly (lower forefront, center!) was among the dishes of honor to be sampled. …
It is a beauty, full of summer weather, and with a full moon coinciding for the first time in many many years. They said 49 years on the weather yesterday morning, but I saw nearly 70 somewhere else. Anyways, a long time. …
On this last day of May, I’m sending out the announcement for our great new 13 oz. Mason jars. I also just instagrammed the whacky odyssey of our beloved globe jars, en route (supposedly) to Bethel, CT, where I normally pick them up from the warehouse without issue….
Yeah another line from a country song here. A good one, yup. It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To, Billy Currington.
This song, its feelings and lyrics, has been hanging out in my periphery as I approached and then backed off writing the past week plus. It’s about a lost romance, of course. For me, it evokes some other stuff. But whatever I had to say, first I had to get through…duh duh duh… Mother’s Day. Or shall we say, the M day….
The last week of April was a little all over the map on the personal plane, but on the les collines plane it was a banner week of activity and productivity.
So delighted that les collines can now be found at the wonderful Nejaime’s Wine Cellars at both their Stockbridge and Lenox locations, including a first outside the holidays– our little guy sample size, the adorable 1 2/3 oz that everyone loves, perfect for Tanglewood picnics!
In the kitchen this week, we were cookin’ and jammin’ and just about any other pun you can cook up…over 200 jars in one day, a record (may never be repeated!): two batches of rhubarb preserve with vanilla bean & Earl Grey, and though these are small batches they were fairly big ones; two smaller batches of quince preserve, with the very last quince of the season, sniff; a batch of Meyer lemon rosemary jelly; and a batch of sour cherry preserve. Just one jar of our proposed new size (13 oz, shhhh!), then lots of 8 oz and the little ones. We were on a roll.
The rhubarb preserve is the least pretty color-wise of les collines, but the flavor more than compensates. Here, the Earl Grey tea, very strong and well-steeped, has just been strained and is ready to add to the rhubarb for a long simmer.
The quince took on a deeper hue, due perhaps to it cooking a bit longer as it awaited the rhubarb ahead of it! But funnily, the first batch, which cooked for slightly less time than the second, was the darker. Go figure.
The Meyer lemon, so fragrant, so light and sunny in color, and the sour cherry, Fourth of July in a jar. The latter we paired with Midnight Moon goat gouda and an Italian Falanghina from Campania for a lovely apéritif. On a soft spring evening, perfetto.
Closing out the week the weather turned wet and chilly, we had a fire going most of the day. But outside the birds were in full spring mode, and our nesting bluebirds may have some hungry babies as mama and papa both seem to be zooming in and out quite a bit. Timid as they are I managed to catch papa resting on the fence in all his blueness. Happy May Day xo
A week ago, driving over the Berkshire hills to my printer in Lenox, I heard the news that Prince had died. It sort of crept out for me, the news, in that I hadn’t heard anything before I left the house. When I got in the car, I heard a few Prince songs in a row on the radio, somehow that seemed odd, then a reference to him in the past tense. I was like, get your verb tenses straight guys! It did not seem possible, the death of another not very old, very great musician who lived his music, and said to be a genius….