I often hear people talk about Le Terroir when used to denote the special characteristics that geography bestows upon particular varieties of wine, coffee and tea. People wanting to grow grapes in less idealistic locations (not France or Italy) dispute this claim. I'm here to say that I believe in Le Terroir - at least in part. Every year I make Blackberry Syrup and Blackberry jam. I have along the east and north sides of my house Blackberry bushes the size of trees. The bushes in the north produce amazing, knock it out of the park, rocket to the moon, get the big O, fabulous fruit that in turn makes the most amazing syrup you've ever had. Those of you who know me know that I love exclamation food and this syrup is all I've said it is. The most common response to a spoonful is Oh My God! Really, I get that more than anything.
The berries on the east side of the house produce roughly the same thing short a few explicatives. The syrup they produce is for the record still better than anything you'll ever get in a bottle from the store and that includes so called "gourmet" products. The reason that both syrups made from berries on the side and back are great is that I only pick the absolute ripest berries which are very low in pectin and very high in natural sugar. I combine these with a bit more cane sugar and a tad of water and then only boil them just long enough for the fruit to break down and give me their juice. In this case the longer you cook the fruit the more you break down the flavor. However, the two locations give me different qualities of fruit. Even the birds will pick the bushes in the back clean before moving to those in the side of the house. What's the difference? I don't know to be honest. The ones in the back are at the bottom of a slope so maybe they get more water, they're further from the street so maybe less pollution, they get sun all day instead of half day, they're let run wild as opposed to me having to hack away on the side bushes on occasion... It's my opinion though that my fireplace has something to do with it. I have a gas fireplace on the east side and the pilot light is on, that means it's burning gas which then exits the right side of the building. I wonder if there's just enough gas in the air that the plants aren't as healthy.. Plants are funny that way.
No matter, this syrup might as well be crack (and should be illegal). I've taken to making homemade ice cream every other night just so I have an excuse to put syrup on it. I have to confess that I've gone down to the fridge in the middle of the night just to get a spoonful of syrup by itself. ;-) This morning I got out my Waring Pro 300 Belgian Waffle maker (father's day present) and made perfectly light and crispy waffles using Carbon's Golden Malted waffle mix just like what you get at many popular business hotels. And of course, I drizzled them with Blackberry Syrup. This syrup resembles liquid rubies is so beautiful that you hardly want to eat it until you get a whiff then a taste and you're all done.