And action: handpicked wild sloe, juniper, copper pan, vigorous stirring, swirling steam. Cut to: Tea Together jams, made by former acclaimed documentary cameraman Nick Gifford and filmmaker Judith Gifford. Their background may be unconventional for jam makers and their mode of operation endearingly quirky. Yet the Giffords, who uprooted from the English county of Kent to northern France for a new way of life, are building a global reputation for the jams produced at their bohemian, gray-shuttered fermette in St. Rémy au Bois. The preserves are made with just two ingredients: whole, organic fruit in its seasonal prime and unbleached organic cane sugar.
"There's a definite synergy with our documentary-making roots," explains Judith Gifford. "The visual aspect of the jams matters greatly to us. The look is plain and sober, presenting the ingredients as they really should be tasted. What's more, Nick was used to traveling the world with his camera and never fazed even by the most impossible logistics. He applies the same intrepid outlook to supplying jams globally."
The Giffords made their retail debut a decade ago, when their jams appeared on the shelves of Alain Ducasse's chic Parisian grocery. Through nothing but quiet, word-of-mouth recommendations, Tea Together has now built up an impressive reach, enhancing breakfasts and afternoon teas at Claridge's, the Dorchester and the new Coworth Park in the U.K. (each has its own bespoke, seasonal jams), and also at La Réserve in Geneva, the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and the St. Regis and the Ritz-Carlton in Singapore, among others. Flavors like orange marmalade with green cardamom, and the seasonal rarity rhubarb and angelica, are now available at London's Rose Bakery and New York City's Dean & Deluca, while retail stockists are being lined up in Shanghai and Seoul. Trust a pair of filmmakers to have the distribution all sewn up. See teatogether.com for more.
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