During FEAST, we’ve been regularly astounded by the generosity and hospitality we’re shown in each city. Happily, Montreal was no exception. After our Tweet Up at Dieu du Ciel, Aimée of the award-winning blog Simple Bites invited us to her house for a jam swap she was hosting. Each year, she teams up with preserve-loving friends and family to swap homemade jams; the idea is that each person makes a single large batch, trades their jars, and goes home with a variety of jams to get them through the winter.
The dining room table was setup with dozens of colourful preserves, and Aimée setup another table with freshly-baked scones, lemon poppy seed madeleines, and opened jars of each jam to sample. Our favourite of the day – or perhaps of all time? – was the blue grape jelly. Whoever made it is a miracle worker. Honestly. It tasted pure, ripe, and juicy, and we were so crazy about it, Aimée sent us home with a jar. Us! Who had no jars of our own to swap!
We drank tea, nibbled on snacks, and walked around their homesteading backyard – Aimée and her husband Danny raise chickens, plant a garden every year, and even have a small maple stand they tap each spring.
Late in the afternoon, Aimée’s two sons, daughter, niece, and nephew helped Danny dig up the potato patch. It was a wickedly fun treasure hunt to watch, with dirt flying everywhere and screams of excitement as each potato was unearthed.
Mateo also collected the day’s eggs from the chicken coop.
They were large, pale brown, and he handled them like the pro chicken farmer he is.
After the jam swap we were invited for dinner – what luck! Surrounded by wonderful company, we feasted on roasted chicken, the kids’ freshly harvested potatoes, kale and apple salad, mashed yams, leek gratin, and jam and vanilla bean cookies for dessert. What a spread. What a day.
Thanks so much to Aimée and her family for making us feel at home, and feeding us so well. We came to a jam swap with no jam to share, but were sent away with two jars of our own and very full bellies.
Also, exciting news! Aimée is currently working on her first cookbook, appropriately titled Brown Eggs and Jam Jars, which will be out in the Spring of 2015. We're even more excited to read it than we are to spread blue grape jelly on our toast.
Since my Google search for "songs about jam by bands from Montreal" came up short, here's MTL boy Patrick Watson. He's even better.