Food will never be the same; now, it’s merely a vehicle for Butcher’s Bunches’ Ciao This! jam to travel to my mouth. Toast, pancakes, strawberries, cheese, even chocolate cookies and a cocktail—everything gets the balsamic jam treatment. I haven’t felt such sheer condiment joy since I was introduced to Nutella.
Ciao This is the latest in Liz Butcher’s line of handcrafted creative jams. Between late 2009 and mid-2010—Butcher’s Bunches’ first production year—she concocted 47 flavors, and has made more than 80 to date. “I just love to play with flavors,” Butcher says. A dozen or so of these can be found on the Butcher’s Bunches website.
Slather the Ramblin’ Raspberry on a waffle; bake the spicy JC Schmokin’ Cherry on brownies; glaze a pork tenderloin with Gilligan’s Ginger (gingered apricot peach). Or eat the triple-chocolate-banana Monkey Bizzzness by the spoonful.
If Butcher’s concoctions have sugar, it’s minimal, a decision made because of her son’s dietary considerations. So, the preserves get flavored another way, which might be surprising to some. “We use a lot of booze in our jam,” Butcher says, with a little laugh. “A lot of times it turns people off around here, but, honestly, if we used vanilla extract, the alcohol content is actually higher.”
Alcohol is merely a flavor enhancer. Butcher picks liqueurs—amaretto, limoncello, Frangelico, etc.—by how gorgeous the bottle is.
Butcher’s has gone from making her first batches of preserves at Crumb Brothers Artisan Bread in Logan, with just a hope and 20 years experience making jam at home, to shipping cases out of state, barely keeping up with demand. And she’s most recently made a Ciao This! addict out of me.