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Strong Is Good These Days

It’s the Festival Digital de la Fermentation Maison today, an online symposium on fermentation, broadcasted through Instagram. I am reluctant to be glued to a screen all day, but there will be many interesting speakers so I decided to at least give it a try. It’s going to be all in French, yay!

Best to start the day in the garden though, where yesterday I coincidentally noticed the black currants. It’s funny how these dark little marbles always seem to be able to escape my view for the longest time and then suddenly they are just there, ready to be picked. They are certainly not my favourite berries to be eaten raw, with their particularly bitter taste and their rather tough skin. Processed however they are unsurpassed and make for a really good jelly or an even better liqueur, known as Crème de Cassis.

It is made by soaking crushed black currants in red wine, fortified with alcohol and sweetened with sugar and represents the modern version (it first appeared in the Burgundy region in 1841) of a commonly brewed beverage in earlier centuries that was called Ratafia de Cassis. I actually prefer this one because it infuses a lot longer (at least three months) and makes for a stronger aperitif. Strong is good these days.

One thing I did take away from the Crème de Cassis recipes floating around on the internet, is the addition of a couple of leaves of the black currant bush to this concoction. Crushing them instantly gives you the typical black currant scent, which I find enhances the final taste of the liqueur. Once all the berries are harvested, I will begin to start drying these leaves too: they’ll make a very tasty fruity tea next winter, reminiscing this year’s summer. Because everything always intertwines.

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