Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A visit to a confiturerie in the hilltops of Durbuy

As an avid traveler, I always love to try local products of the place I am visiting and reading up in advance about the place helps promptly identify their local specialty. Durbuy, the smallest city in the world I learned is famous for its jams and jellies, made from different types of wild berries. I made sure this visit would bring me to the source where these sweet preserves are made in the Ardennes Mountains.

Here are the hand-produced jams and jellies of Durbuy, their website (only Dutch and French) here: Confiturerie Saint-Amour

Confiturerie Saint-Amour, probably the principal jam and jelly producer in Durbuy has a shop in the old town, however, the atelier where the jams and other complementary products were made are located up in the hills overlooking the town which is not really that far. I didn’t know how to get there but knew from my reading that if I take the little train ride that goes through town and up to the Belvedere where nice views of Durbuy can be sighted, I would find the confiturerie.

The confiturerie signage from the road. There is also an entrance from the back.

Here are pictures of the locally produced jams in different flavors and sizes. They sell vinegar from wild berries as well. I bought the blueberry vinegar and using it right now for cooking. Really, really loved it, I wish I bought a few more bottles.

The confiturie also sells herbs, aromatherapy oils, bath salts and soap from jasmine and lavender which are abundantly cultivated in the region.

The confiturerie is very easy to find, it’s across the road before reaching the panoramique de la ville stop. I went through the backdoor of the factory and into their nice delicatessen and gift shop. There is a small audio-visual area where visitors can watch the process and history of making jams et al. Beside this is the entrance to the atelier where the actual production took place. Unfortunately, Wednesdays was their day off so nobody was on duty.

The atelier/werkplaats/factory where the jams and jellies are traditionally processed by hand in copper pans.

Here are my reasons why we should patronize locally produced products when traveling:

(1) Buying locally produced products helps you support local tourism and local mom and pop companies and not some giant, rich food manufacturer or chain supermarket.
(2) Most of the times, these products are specialties of the town, region or country and what better way to buy them directly from the source.
(3) Because they are locally produced, the products tend to be organic, but not always.
(4) The whole experience of it gives substance and fun of discovering the place.
(5) They are perfect souvenirs to bring back home because it’s like bringing a part of your travel, a part of your experience, a part of what you have discovered and learned.
(6) The products are always something that you can either eat or use right away.
(7) And they usually come in very nice packaging in very charming shops—oh, I am a sucker for these!
(8) Lastly, you do not have to buy loads of locally produced products. Even just 1 item that costs under €5 is already fine. The thought counts, but moreover, its the fact that you have partaken in another culture’s gastronomy.

Travel Period: July 2010
Destination: Durbuy (Luxembourg), Belgium

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