What about Martine?
Martine is the grandmother all of us would have wanted to have! She is a warm, energetic and absolutely adorable older lady who creates flower confits to share with the world her two passions: Cooking and flowers. She welcomes us in her "laboratory" located in a wonderful XIe century Abbey. When we admire her work location she answers full of enthusiasm: “Isn’t it beautiful? When I feel stressed I come to work to relax”! Her laboratory is pristine and Spartan. A beautiful, airy and light room with two tables: one covered with fruits being prepared, the other with two burners on which confits simmer in copper basins. What is a confit? It is a bit like a jam but with less sugar, a bit more liquid and with an insanely intense aroma of fresh fruit and flowers. They can be eaten like jams but also, depending on the type, used to flavour a salad dressing, mix with ice cream and other desserts, pair with cheese, sublime a fish carpaccio or deglaze a red meat sauce. That is if you can resist the temptation of just finishing the jar with a spoon!
We ask Martine where she got the idea of combining fruits and flowers. “I developed an unconventional palate at a very young age”, she answers. “My father was travelling the world and always came home with exotic spices and recipes. I grew up with the smell and taste of those spices and I recognise their aroma in flowers”. Martine works exclusively with biological sugar and flowers harvested by hand in her own and some of her friends’ gardens or from wild products she forages. Everything is cultivated according to biological or biodynamic standards but her products do not have an official label as Martine hates being put in boxes! Martine does everything herself, from selecting her ingredients, preparing them, cooking them and putting her confits in pots. Her production is completely artisanal and very limited: From 800 pots of 200ml per year for her Raspberry/poppy confit to only a couple of tens of her lemon flower confit, for which she manually harvest each flower! We get to the tasting of her products and it is an avalanche of sensations, too much to recall them all! As we reluctantly leave, people visiting the Abbey ask whether they can enter the laboratory. “People always come to see me” says Martine smiling, “it smells so good, nobody can resist!”