How sweet it is: chunky, homemade-style preserves. From top: Kiwi-Lime-Ginger, Apricot and Raspberry. Photo by Michael Steele. Other photos by Brian Van Sise.
CMB Sweets Preserves
Homemade-Style Jams, Jellies, Preserves & Fruit Butters From Ripe California Fruit
CAPSULE REPORT: CMB Sweets makes preserves with ripe, seasonal, mostly California fruit—much of it organic. The style is chunky and homemade, the concept is artisan California food at a reasonable price. The “Jam Of The Month Club” is a nice surprise—whether you’d like a jar showing up on your own doorstep each month, or would like to give a tasty, artisan food gift to a friend. The cute fruit characters on each jar make it an appropriate gift for a younger foodie-in-training.
Carolina Braunschweig, the “CMB” of CMB Sweets, is another person from corporate America, bitten by the bug to create good artisan food. While some converts are inspired by trips to Paris, Carolina’s inspiration was a jam-of-the-month club. Picking up a bushel of strawberries from a San Francisco farmers’ market in 2004, she taught herself to make jam, maintaining the integrity of the fruit with sugar and lemon juice as the only additions. The enthusiastic response it received was the beginning of a career switch.
In keeping with the homespun style of the jams, the labels have a variety of fruit characters—smiley faces with arms and legs, rendered by the jam maker and a friend. This is not only wholesome, good food, it’s fun food.
CMB Sweets uses only locally-grown seasonal fruits, developing relationships with small family farms in Northern California and scouring farmers’ markets for new supplies of the tastiest produce. With such quality fruit, the preserves are largely untampered-with: chunky whole berries, minimally cooked, that stay true to the flavor of the fruit (for the most part, there are no added herbs, spices, or other flavorings).
Flavors are seasonal: New preserves, jellies and fruit butters appear based on what prime fruits can be scored each season. The Strawberry Confiture, which we did not taste prior to writing this review because strawberries were not in season, is a best-seller (and it’s in season now).
Sign up for three or six months, and a jar of homemade jam is delivered to your breakfast table—fresher and tastier than just about anything most people can buy locally. Your monthly jam will represent the best bounty of the season—for example, in May it might be apricot; in June, olallieberry* knocks at the door; and you can get figgy with it in August with fig-sesame spread. Surprise someone special—or surprise yourself!
*Olallieberry is a cross between the loganberry and the youngberry, each of which is itself a cross between the blackberry and, respectively, the raspberry and the dewberry. This can be berry confusing, but it tastes great!
Purchase online at CMBSweets.com
Prices and flavor availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.
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