It may therefore come as something of a surprise for anyone brought up purely on the films, that James Bond has a favourite strawberry jam. After vodka martinis and the finest vintage Champagnes it doesn’t seem at first glance to be Bond-like at all.
The James Bond books often feature mouth-watering descriptions of the meals enjoyed by 007 while on assignment, an element that is completely lacking in the film series. And while strawberry jam may not appear to be Bond-like at all, rest assured that he chooses what is considered to be one of the best preserves on the market.
In From Russia With Love we read that James Bond’s favourite meal of the day is breakfast and that it always remains the same; after two large cups of two cups of coffee brewed in a Chemex coffee maker he eats a boiled egg followed by wholewheat toast with Jersey butter and a choice of Tiptree “Little Scarlet” strawberry jam, Cooper’s Vintage Oxford marmalade and Norwegian Heather Honey from Fortnum and Mason.
Tiptree “Little Scarlet” is named after the variety of strawberry used in its manufacture, which produces a fruit approximately a fifth of the size of a standard strawberry and similar is size to wild strawberries. The strawberry was introduced to Britain by C.J. Wilkin after visiting the United States where it grew wild; his family firm, Wilkin & Sons Limited, was founded in Tiptree, Essex in 1885 and to this day continues to make jams and marmalades, as well as related products.
In fact, according to the company, Wilkin & Sons is the sole commercial cultivator of Little Scarlet in the world; the variety of strawberry is Fragaria virginiana and although it grows wild it is very difficult to grow. Additionally, the fruit’s small size makes it difficult to pick and sort, making it expensive too.
Each jar of Tiptree “Little Scarlet” contains sixty berries, and thanks to the concentration of fruit used – at 60g of fruit per 100g of jam weighing in at around double that of most commercial jams – the flavour is extremely concentrated, lending it its popularity. Also, it only contains fruit, sugar pectin and citric acid.
Photo: Courtesy Wilkin & Sons Limited