Le Bon Magot: A Biography in a Jar
What does it mean to be a culinary pioneer? Every day, we at Di Bruno Bros. come to work with the phrase emblazoned on our shirts, proudly worn over our hearts. But we don’t adhere to a strict definition of the motto. For instance, we think producers can be pioneers in many ways. They are at the forefront of sustainability, always with an eye on environmental impact. They improve their communities through food, donating a percentage of profits to those in need. Or, they challenge our palates by crafting flavor combinations we’ve never tasted before. This is a story of the latter.
Le Bon Magot is more than a line of preserves. It’s a biography. More specifically, it’s the story of Naomi Mobed and her remarkable journey across this earth. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, and raised in Tehran, Iran, Naomi’s nomadic journey through life includes stops in Hong King, New York, Paris, Dubai, Muscat and Johannesburg. Along the way, she achieved degrees at Oxford, Princeton and Harvard. (I’ve never felt more like an underachiever).
How did she manage to feel at home when her home was always changing? Through the local food culture. “My family traveled on its stomachs,” she says, fusing local traditions with that of their own. “Food bound us and enabled us to communicate with the world – to show both our differences and similarities – to help us assimilate, make friends and settle into the ever-changing landscape.”
What a lovely thought. Embracing cultural differences and amalgamating them into something deliciously inclusive.
Naomi settled in Princeton and established Le Bon Magot – “The hidden treasure” – to represent the culmination of her family’s travels. Pulling primarily from her experiences in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, Naomi has crafted four of the most “wow-factor” preserves we’ve ever tasted. (“Wow-factor” being an official Di Bruno metric). Check out the creativity that goes into these jars:
Tomato and White Sultana Chutney:
Tomato and Sultanas (a dried, seedless white-flesh grape), are spiced with chilies, garlic, ginger, cumin and garam masala. Naomi says this is the west-Indian equivalent of ketchup, and sure enough it works everywhere we traditionally use ketchup. Burgers, breakfast sandwiches, omelets. It’s also a perfect complement to hearty cheddars (may we suggest Pitchfork?) and alpine cheeses.
SHOP NOW >>
Spiced Raisin Marmalata:
Raisins rendered savory with the addition of Ras el hanout (the “spice shop owner’s blend”) and smoked cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, dried rose petals and a dash of soy sauce. It’s like eating Port Wine, and is the ideal companion to Stilton.
Lemon Sultana Marmalata:
Lemons are sweetened with sultana and crystallized honey, then infused with saffron and caraway. Inspired by the aromatic saffron of Afghanistan and dried fruit preserves of Turkey, this bright marmalade is perfect during the spring and summer months, and is sublime on fresh goat cheese and brie.
SHOP NOW >>
Over the last few years, we’ve become very fond of Naomi and her worldly concoctions. We like to think we go together like Lemon Sultana Marmalata and Queso Leonora. So when we told her we would be celebrating our 80th anniversary in 2019, she was eager to join in the festivities. She crafted her most daring condiment yet, a Carrot and Fruit Conserve, as something we could pair with both cheese and charcuterie.
You’re probably a bit skeptical about carrot as a base for jam. So were we. But Naomi has crafted something truly stunning here. Shaved and minced carrots are blended together with dates, figs, cranberries, garlic, cumin, cardamom, ginger, jaggery and a touch of chili. Carrots are at the forefront, but every ingredient shines through, adding its own nuance and complexity. It’s hearty, but delicate. It’s sweet and spicy, savory and fruity. It’s the new condiment we can’t live without. And in celebration of our 80th, it is launching exclusively in our stores and dibruno.com.
So join us on the path of the culinary pioneer. Experience flavor combinations you’ve never heard of before. Your taste buds will thank you.
Check out previous issues of Food 4 Thought: