I tap an aide memoir onto my phone, and realise the waft of recently pressed Bergamot lemon and garlic remains on my paws and will likely linger both on my ear and hair “April fool” to self. Idiot, I’m not wrong.
Hedgerow scents begin, frittering, chirruping birds, newbie bees bounce and adorn the flowering damson, rosemary and pungent sage. Spring is so welcome.
Surrounded by herbs and brassicas instead of scaffolding, we remain edged beside the ovine world after 4 years of barmy builders. Half the house flattened and subsequently rebuilt, whoopee I now have a kitchen, subject to glitches. It’s been character building without the kitchen and with the glitches.
When questioned, what I might like as a birthday gift. I asked for some fresh bergamot. Thinking a whizz to Crete or maybe Italy might well be on the cards? Nope Riverford recommended a shop that was a veritable one hour drive away. Umm that’s me thinking out of the (swear) box. It was and remains entirely my choice and subsequent delight, that’s the Bergamot lemons not the glitches.
With halved figs bubbled, in maple syrup, the zesty skin adds grandeur once dolloped over pancakes.
In a vinaigrette proffers it’s perfumed perfection, tartness without tardiness or tartiness
Mix with dill and herbs to upgrade oils and dressings.
Use with cucumber, to other citrus it bring a whiff of the exotic.
Candied bergamot on little breakfast petit fours, zested into Madeleine’s, or made into curd is bliss.
Singularly sensational syrup added to sparkling water, limoncello or fizz?
An unctuous upstager, magnificent in meringue, stunning in sorbet, indubitably indulgent in icing, confounding all expectation as a syrup, particularly when merged with mint for cocktails.
The exclusive note? The elusive aromatic? The keynote flavour in Earl Grey Tea, of course.
Lending a chuckle to chilli with fennel seed as a lemon glaze for a lemon drizzle cake.
Sliced, in syrup added to a jug of perfectly chilled, Earl Grey iced tea.
Nuanced citrus hit to cocktails. G and T… Oh hello!
Steeping the rind in vodka or gin to make bitters. Martini anyone? Incomplete these days without my beguiling Bergamot!
Layer 1: a curd base, mixed with whipped cream as an ice cream. Layer 2: sweetened ricotta with bergamot zest. Layer 3: a swift sorbet made from a stock syrup (equal parts) of juice, water and sugar. Standard sugar syrup then thinned (once cooled) with the freshly squeezed Bergamot juice.
No surprise that all the above can be achieved with lovely lemons but just sometimes a little of what you pansy does you good. The season for Bergamot is short but pure essential oil is worthy.
I applaud and have now stored my 2 kg of Bergamot lemons and with a cold damp face cloth clamped to ones forehead, a restorative pot of trusty Earl Grey before me, it’s six years today since your i-c-m tentatively dipped a toe into the dappled shade of the blogosphere. Extending the deja vu, I thank you unreservedly for the pleasure of your company.
Oh I say … can anyone else smell garlic or is it just me?