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Bergamot Sweet Lemon Marmalade

Bergamots aren’t something one runs across every day in the supermarket, or even at greengrocers. But mid-winter, depending on where you live, you just might get lucky and happen across some, as I recently did in Paris. But no matter, this recipe can be made with other kinds of lemon, especially “sweet” lemons, such as Meyer lemons.

There’s conflicting information on what a bergamot actually is, but it’s definitely a member of the citrus family and most consider it to be a relative of the bitter orange, which might have been mated with a lemon at some point in its murky past.

Most are familiar with the fruit because the oil from the peel is used to flavor Earl Grey tea. In France, many people are familiar with bergamot as they’re used to make the balmy-tasting Bergamots de Nancy hard candies, from the Lorraine region.

Bergamot Sweet Lemon Marmalade

When buying citrus for jam-making, be sure to source organic or unsprayed fruits. Because you’re eating the entire fruit, including the peel, it’s good to make sure the fruit hasn’t been sprayed with anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable ingesting. You want the finished marmalade to be something you’re happy to eat!

Bergamot Sweet Lemon Marmalade

Bergamot Sweet Lemon Marmalade

Some people are put off by the price of organic produce, and yes, I pay a little more when I shop at the organic stand at my market. But the entire bag of the ones I bought to make this marmalade was under €6 ($6), and I got two lovely jars of jam from the lovely fruits I plucked from the bag when I got home.

Bergamot Sweet Lemon Marmalade

Because of the longer cooking, the color of the lemons will concentrate and won’t be as sunny-colored as the fresh fruits, but no matter. The flavor will shine through, especially when spread on your favorite toast for breakfast the next morning, which I did with some grainy bread I picked up at Chambelland bakery in Paris.

Bergamot Sweet Lemon Marmalade

As mentioned, you might not be able to find bergamots (and I’ve linked below to articles on what they are), but if you have lemons, don’t make lemonade – make marmalade!

Bergamot Marmalade

Before making this marmalade, be sure to check and make sure your fruit resembles mine. What are called bergamots in France, go by different names elsewhere. Just below, I’ve linked to Wikipedia entries describing
bergamot oranges and
citron limetta, which are what they refer to as bergamots in France. And that’s what I used.You can read more about them at
What is a bergamot? For this recipe, you could substitute any sweet lemon, such as a Meyer lemon, although regular lemons would work as well, too.
Course Breakfast
  • 8 bergamots (about 700g) or Meyer lemons, organic or unsprayed
  • 3 cups (600g) sugar
  • 4 cups (1L) water, plus more for blanching the bergamots
  • pinch of sea salt
  • optional: 2 teaspoons, kirsch or limoncello
  • Rinse and dry the bergamots, trim off the stem ends, then cut each in half and pluck out the seeds.
  • Slice the bergamots as thinly as possible. Tip: If you have trouble getting them very small, after slicing, you can use a chef’s knife to chop them to the right size. Don’t use a food processor, as that will make the marmalade muddy.
  • Put in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Let boil for five minutes, then drain well.
  • Return the bergamots to the pot, add the sugar, 4 cups (1l) of water, and salt, and bring to a boil. Cook the bergamots, stirring occasionally, until the marmalade begins to set using the wrinkle test: turn the marmalade off and put a dab on a plate that’s been in the freezer then check it after five minutes; if it wrinkles when you nudge it, it’s done. If not, continue to cook, repeating this step, until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Depending on the heat, the marmalade will take at least 30 minutes to reach this point, although if you’re used to making other jams, it will look slightly more liquid than others when done. You can also use a candy thermometer; the marmalade will be done when the temperature reaches around 218ºF (103ºC).
  • Once done, stir in the liqueur, if using, then ladle into clean jars and twist on the lids. Once cool, store in the refrigerator, where they’ll keep for at least six months.


For those interested in canning and preserving the marmalade, you can find downloadable instructions at the USDA website.

Related Links and Recipes

What is a bergamot?

Bergamot orange (Wikipedia)

Citron Limetta

Candied Citron

Beguiling Bergamot (Daniel Patterson)

Bergamot Madeleines (Chez Pim)

Bergamot Growers Get a Whiff of Success (BBC)

Bergamot Marmalade (Yum in Tum)

Bergamot Orange Custard Cups (Hungry Cravings)

Seville Orange Marmalade

Shallot, Beer and Cocoa Nib Marmalade

Apricot Jam

No-Recipe Cherry Jam

Rhubarb-Berry Jam



    • Suzen

    Congratulations David! I saw your blog nominated for a Saveur Magazine blog award. Very much deserved! Hoping for you to win.

    • Hannah

    This definitely looks divine and “give me now”, yet I really don’t like earl grey tea so have a fear I wouldn’t like this were anyone to, you know, “give me now” (as grammatically incorrect as that is). Suffice to say, I can’t get my hands on bergamots anyway, so I’ll just enjoy looking at the photos and pretending I might eat it.

    • kat

    I’d never seen bergamot until your post. This looks really delicious, I don’t think you will be able to make it last until next year, unless you hide some in the back of your cupboard. :)

    • Drue

    I love the smell of bergamot used in teas and fragrances. It doesn’t resonate as a citrus essence so I was surprised to learn it was of that family.

    I don’t understand the hostility towards the “organic/bio” movement. Whatever claims one wishes to make about nutritional value and sustainability aside, I guarantee those that rail the loudest against the folly of it are also the ones that remember their grandmother’s cooking the fondest.

    Since this is a topic which I could discuss vehemently for days I will end on another note completely and spare you and your readers the vitriol.

    All I have left to say is “mmmmmm, kohlrabi marmalade.”

    • David

    Drue: Like in other places, in France, the “Bio” movement is viewed a bit as elitist and some people have told me that “everything in France is organic”, which isn’t exactly true. (According to this article, France is third in the world in terms of pesticide use, after the US and India.) And because of the prices, organic understandably is often seen as something only for the bourgeois class. Unless, of course, you’re lucky to live in the country, or near farmers who don’t spray their crops.

    I was surprised to find not just these bergamots, but a lot of the other citrus at the health food store, which was priced similar to the regular produce at the market. So if you poke around, organic isn’t necessarily that much more expensive. And you can find some interesting things, too.

    And for anyone that doesn’t believe me—let them eat kohlrabi marmalade!

    • Sandra

    So, if we live in parts of the world where there are no bergmots and no hope for getting them to make this luscious marmalade, what other citrus do you suggest to substitute in? No one likes changing such a key ingredient in a recipe, and now that Whole Foods is a tad closer to me, I might be willing to drive to check to see if they have them, althought I doubt it. Your ideas on this would be appreciated for me and many of your grateful fans!!

    • Ciaochowlinda

    Wish I could get bergamot here. I’ll have to be content with your photos. But some of them look suspiciously like blood oranges. Are they mixed in with the bergamot?

    • lee

    Part of the hostility is that the producers of organic produce have pushed, and been successful in the US, for laws that favor the business and not the consumer. They can use without limit pesticides that are deemed natural, like the one made from chrysanthemums. The laws around testing for these pesticides are controversial, but as they stand, mean that consumers don’t have the information they need to make rational decisions.

    • deeba

    Fascinating… the blanched and unblanched versions, and the patience behind this beautiful post. No bergamots in India, but plenty of tangerines. For bitter marmalade, I do a bouquet garni of sorts with the seeds tied within to help the setting process. Your recipe doesn’t do that, so I figure bergamots have pectin of their own. Another way to snip the peel finely is with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors. I find that does the job well!

    • David

    Ciaochowlinda: Those are a mix of various organic citrus that I bought (by accident!) when I meant to get all bitter oranges, which someone at the store must’ve inadvertently crossed in the bin. They were awfully pretty, though.

    Sandra: You could likely use lemons, although they’d probably have to be blanched one or two more times, since their piths and peels are more bitter. Since I haven’t done it, I can’t say for sure. But if you do try it, let us know how it works out.

    deeba: I do that when I make Seville orange marmalade, but bergamots have so few seeds, it doesn’t seem worth it.

    lee: I know a certain amount of farmers (at least in the US) also don’t want, or have to means to, pay the fees required for organic certification. So many just use terms like “sustainable” or “transitional”. That’s why I like shopping at farmer’s markets, or buying directly from the producer, whenever possible.

    • krysalia

    I totally agree with you : when someone wants to eat the peel of some citrus, or even some fruits, taking the organic kind is discovering a whole new world of flavors. Some of my family members used to say that it was “only wax” to make the citrus peel shine. Yeah, right… If I remember correctly, there is no less than 12 products vaporised on the fruit in the last weeks before they are harvested, and even more before this time. The said “wax” also contains pesticides and other chemicals to prevent the fruits from the mold spores. A friend once told me that he never ate a citron that was tasting the same way than my “yellow citrus essential oil” which is HEBBD (huile essentielle botaniquement et biologiquement définie), but is also 100% organic (found in pharmacies). Of course I said, because none of the citrus he ate was organic, so that harsh and bitter flavor were not coming from the fruit :D.

    The problem is truly organic citrus are pretty rare or pretty expensive as you said (I totally confirm that :/) so not enough people have the chance to test and taste the difference themselves. Worse, it’s possible that the ones who finally manage to taste the difference in this situation of rarity will be people who are already opened to the advantages of organic products. => the use of organic products, their quantity on the market and their prices do not get better :( .

    • Barbra

    I think this calls for a batch of scones and a pot of tea (I like Kusmi’s “Anastasia”, an Earl Gray that has lemon and fleur d’orange in addition to the bergamot). You can bring the marmalade.

    • Florentine

    Oh, I want bergamots too! I’ve never seen them here in Germany.
    (And the “organic being elitist”-thing is present here, too, which I find rather stupid. I used to sell bread for an organic bakery on farmers markets here in Berlin and some people got really hostile when they saw the “organic” logo. It was hilarious what kinds of ideas they had about organic food. I could go on for hours about this.)
    But bergamots! I want some!

    • mitzim

    David, you always surprise me with interesting information. It never occurred to me bergamots were citrus. I don’t know what I thought they were, really – I’d never seen one until your photographs. I love Earl Grey and I’ve used bergamot essential oils in aromatherapy, but the scent is so warm and spicy, I wouldn’t have picked it for a lemon … Does that lovely quality carry over in the taste of the marmalade too?

    ps I’m still telling anyone who’ll listen about your great post on cocoa.

    • Mrs Redboots

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen bergamots, organic or otherwise, but I really do love the smell of the essential oil, and I drink gallons of Earl Grey tea! I’d love to make this marmalade, if I ever find any.

    By the way, if it’s any consolation, shops always and invariably run out of, or stop selling, or remove from their shelves, the one item I went in there for! It’s complete sods’ law!

    • Lans


    I WANT.

    My family has an interesting technique where we spread orange peels from oranges we deem aromatic and tasty on paper towels. The peels dry up and are delicious brewed with honey as a tea. I can’t even begin to express my envy at your ability to get bergamot and how much I want to try brewing Bergamot Peel Tea.

    • Laura

    I saw some bergamot fruits at the Monterey market in Berkeley, where I went to buy Seville oranges, which they didn’t have! I wish I had known that bergamot make good marmalade too. I need to plan another trip there next week. Hopefully they will have both.

    I was waiting for something citrus from you, it is the season after all. Yum!

    • Jessica

    We’re lucky enough to have a bitter orange tree in our southern French garden. I made marmalade this year using a recipe from a book called “Sloe Gin and Beeswax”. That advocated boiling the oranges whole for quite a long time before halving them, scooping out the innards to cook some more to extract the pectin, and shredding the nice soft peel.

    The advantages of this method seem to be: the colour of the finished product (bright, sunny orange), and the ease of finely cutting peel that’s already soft.

    I can’t abide orange marmalade, but my husband says it’s very good indeed.

    We”re also making vin d’orange, and have tried Nigella Lawson”s bitter orange semi-freddo, which is heavenly.

    • beth

    I was lucky enough to get hold of some Bergamots the other day and made a Bergamot Yogurt Cake – it was so tasty. If I manage to get hold of any more will give this a try

    • Asha@FSK

    There are things that i’d rather get the organic version than not like milk, meat, eggs. Did not used to do that with fruits and vegetables although, coming from India, I know the untreated fruits taste fantastic! But I honestly don’t know if what they sell here (US) is really organic (they taste the same,, mostly tasteless :(( )

    • Ellen

    bergamot always reminds me of fruit loops– more floral, far more tasty, and certainly more natural– but fruit loops nonetheless. i’d love to get my hands on some!

    • The Rowdy Chowgirl

    I don’t know why I’ve never stopped to wonder what bergamot actually is. I love earl grey tea, and I love the idea of that flavor in a marmalade. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any at the produce store, but I’m going to keep my eyes open for bergamot. I usually find that once I start looking for an odd item like this, it starts popping up all over the place. So I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

    • Nan

    You’ve given me my first laugh of the day! Your comments about Gerard Depardeu were absolutely priceless. I’m still chortling :)

    But I have one question. I have grown the herb Bergamot and as this herb has always smelled just like Earl Grey tea to me, is the fruit essence an additional flavoring added to the tea? Are they somehow related plants?

    Thanks again for the belly-laugh (no reference to Msr. Depardeu’s world renound and note worty girth intended – I think…)!!


    • Nan

    You’ve given me my first laugh of the day! Your comments about Gerard Depardeu were absolutely priceless. I’m still chortling :)

    But I have one question. I have grown the herb Bergamot and as this herb has always smelled just like Earl Grey tea to me, is the fruit essence an additional flavoring added to the tea? Are they somehow related plants?

    Thanks again for the belly-laugh (no reference to Msr. Depardeu’s world renowned and note worty girth intended – I think…)!!


    • Kathleen is Cooking in Mexico

    I always learn something from your posts, David. This time, it was about bergamot. Thank you

    I recently was given some sour oranges, perhaps Seville oranges, though I can’t tell for sure. They are common in Mexico and used for grilling meats. I used them to make the best marmalade I have ever made.The finished texture was perfect because of a great hint I read in Putting Food By (by Hertzberg and Vaughan). When the temperature of the marmalade reaches 9 deg. F. above whatever temp. water boils at your elevation, it is it done, This is usually 221 deg. F. at 1,000 feet or below. This book also advised to return the seeds to the liquid and simmer for 10 minutes to impart the characteristic bitter taste of marmalade (then strain them out and discard). By following these two instructions, both flavor and texture were perfect. It is hard not to take a spoon and start eating marmalade straight out of the jar.

    • maureen in austin

    I only ever remembered seeing bergamot listed as a scent note for a perfume. Hm.
    I just thought it was something icky like ambergris.

    But you’ll probably tell me there’s a recipe for Ambergris Gelato or something, right?

    • Cyndy

    What kind of arrogance does it take to “poo-poo” (pun intended) the bio movement and then announce that your grandmother put human waste on her produce garden? Disgusting. I doubt I would trust enough to eat in one of Depardieu’s restaurants.

    In Seville last week, the beautiful bitter oranges were dropping all over the ground. I doubt you’re allowed to take them home to Paris on the plane, but I was tempted. Does anyone know if their city trees are sprayed?

    • Colleen

    I’m so excited. I grew up in Florida and transplanted to the Northeast. My mom has a some citrus trees (two oranges and a tangerine) that have pretty much inedible fruit. Most people don’t realize that most citrus is “naturally” sour and has been genetically altered to be sweet and goes back to sour after a few years of being left alone (like in my mom’s back yard). Her tangerines will just about kill you. I take the sour oranges and mouth-puckering tangerines home with me and use them for marinades. But I am going to totally make this marmalade now. I LOVE marmalade. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Thank you so much!

    • Malena

    Mmmmm looks DELICIOUS! Thanks for the mouthwatering photos. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for bergamots at Berkeley Bowl.

    • Sophie

    David, are you sure 8 bergamots=700g? I just bought some and they were 6 to a kilo (also at Naturalia, thanks for the tip). I had never seen bergamots before, and am very happy to get to play around with them.

    I bought two batches and they were ‘about’ 700gr for the bag of eight. I am probably going to stop mentioning weight of fruit in recipes from here on out, because of the variations in them, to avoid confusion. I used 8 bergamots. -dl

    • Maya

    Wow, looks like a delish marmalade!! Can you use a mandoline to slice the bergamots or is this a bad idea?

    • arugulove

    Yum! I’ve never had a bergomot. I imagine I can find them here in San Francisco at the Ferry Building. I’m so curious now!

    • Delia

    Looks delicious, David. I’ve never seen Bergamots but I love all citrus and am sure I’d love them, too. I have a friend who is a produce buyer with the local specialty food store so fingers crossed, I might be one of the lucky ones who gets to try this.

    • Kristin

    I have always wanted to try bergamots, but am fairly certain that in my part of the world I won’t come across any anytime soon. I know I would love them as I love all citrus fruit and earl grey tea.
    I will just have to content myself by drooling over your photos and imagining the lovely golden colour and perfumey smell….
    BTW, where is that lovely looking bread from that you are spreading your marmalade on?

    • Jean

    A couple years back I became addicted to double bergamot earl grey tea, so this pretty much sounds like crack to me. I have to try it. I’m going to be very disappointed in nyc if I can’t find bergamots somewhere…

    • jenny

    Dear David,

    Just wondering if you’ve ever eaten empanadas during your trips to Spain? If so
    would you post how to make them? muchas gracias

    • Liz

    Thanks so much for this post! I had no idea the flavor of the peel was so affected by non-organic growing. It makes perfect sense, but I naively assumed a good scrubbing would solve any issues of this sort.

    It makes me realize I have no idea what peels are actually supposed to taste like. My zesting experiences will never be the same!

    • Misia

    just wonder – talking about distinctions in citrus fruit – have you ever done anything nice with kalamansi? (I’ve only come across kalamasi ‘once’, but repeatedly – for the whole month in Phillipines);
    at first, from outside they seemed like limes’ poor cousins – the same, only smaller; when cut they are bright tangerine-coloured inside, very fruity and sweet flavoured and… incredibly sharply sour;
    nevertheless, they were gorgeous in drinks (simple taste, complex aroma) and most notably – in kinilaw – which is a Phillipino take on ceviche, only with kalamansi instead of lime or lemon;
    Phillipino stews did not agree with me (neither sweet round pork sausages for breakfast) but the taste that stayed with me is kinilaw – I basically had it for breakfast, lunch, snack and supper (if I like something, I really like it)
    any other recipes?

    • Monica

    I’ve just finished a Meyer Lemon marmalade made with this exact recipe and it looks amazing. It needs to cool down a little bit before I can spread it on toast and see exactly how it tastes. I did not have bergamotes (impossible to find in Toronto) and thought that Meyer lemons would be an acceptable substitute, since they are a cross between lemons and tangerines (if I’m not wrong). I love the light yellow glow the marmalade has with the blanching technique.
    David, I have a question for you. When I was a child (somewhere in Eastern Europe), my mom used to make bitter cherry preserve. It’s one of the most intriguing taste one can ever experience. Bitter cherries are smaller and darker than regular cherries, let alone the bitterness which gives the preserve that unique taste. I remember that sometimes mom would put big chunks of walnut in her preserve, but – even though I saw her many times making wonders in the kitchen and even took part in the tedious job of pitting the cherries – I cannot remember when were the nuts added, in which exact stage of the process. Do you have any recommendation about adding nuts to marmalade/preserve?

    • Jody White Leon

    This looks similar to something we have in Japan called yuzu. Yuzu marmalade is very popular during the colder months. Just put a spoonful of the marmalade into a cup of hot water, stir and enjoy. This drink is popular with the older generation and is generally drank at my house when someone has a cold. YUM!

    • Tags

    Funny you should mention balmy-tasting, because Eugene Walter in his book “hints & pinches” primarily lists bergamots as a group of American mints known as “American balm, bee balm, fragrant balm, or red balm” (among other names) and adds a footnote saying that bergamots are also a bitter orange related to the Bigarde or Seville.

    • Karen Brown

    Dear David, I’ve been blog-lurking(?) your wonderful blog ever since I read The Sweet Life in Paris, which I adored. I’m not much on leaving comments as my typing is one-fingered pecking.(Why does that sound vaguely vulgar?), but as someone who regularly make jam and marmalade, I thought I’d pass on a small but useful tip.

    After you add the sugar to the fruit, it’s not a great idea to stir frequently , as that can make the fruit mushy, but not stirring often leads to scorching on the bottom of the pan. If you add a few glass marbles, just the ones from the toyshop, to the pan, they roll around the bottom and stop the mix sticking and burning. Just be sure not to add them to the jars when it’s ready to pot up.

    I was thrilled, when after discovering your blog, and compulsively reading past entries, to find your post on rhubarb. I adore rhubarb, and grow it in buckets by my kitchen door. With its affinity with orange, I often cook it with a bit of orange juice and rind, or if there’s no oranges in the house, a spoonful of marmalade. Even better is Rhubarb and Orange Marmalade. I don’t have a recipe, I just kind of do it, but next time you spot some rhubarb, give it a shot, it’s worth the effort for the colour alone. The other thing I like to do with rhubarb is oven-bake it, less chance of it turning to stringy soup that way, just cut up with sugar sprinkled over, and then add some rosewater, (I use about a Tbsp to 4-5 stalks). Cover with foil and bake until tender and syrupy. I know it sounds rather repulsive, but the end result is divine with fromage frais or greek yogurt.

    Looking forward to your next post, Cheers from the South Seas, Karen Brown..Wellington..New Zealand

    • Tags

    Make that Bigarade, not Bigarde.

    • Maya

    I made a batch of bergamot marmalade last winter (non-blanching method) and I’m here to testify to its out-of-this-world deliciousness. POWERFUL though. Use small jars… :)

    • Nadine

    I’m inspired. Will plant a bergamot orange tree this weekend. Why fuss with the organic/non-organic when you can grow it in the yard?

    • lala from nYc

    david! you eat and make everything i love. like bergamot! truffles! & more! and you’ve taught me so much about my undying love for earl grey tea. i had no idea bergamot was a citrus. so educational! so yummy!

    try osmanthus. it’s a flower native to asia and reminds me of bergamot. fragrant, delicate, and reminds me of a summer day. i always thought bergamot was a flower.

    will put Bergamot Marmalade not on my “Things You Can’t Make” list but on my ever-growing “Things I Must Make” list!

    • john

    Absolutely wonderful recipe/post. Organic is just so many more things than produce, it’s an inventive outlook as well. Here in little ol Silver Springs Nevada, with temps freezing every night, Custom Gardens has baby spinach raised under special hoops that until last week were covered with snow. Not marmalade material exactly, but a terrific addition to the larder at this time of year, available right down the street, in the middle of nowhere. Depardieu should stick with what he does best, superb acting, leave cooking to the other guys like David, superb chefs…john

    • Jennifer

    That looks absolutely delicious! I’ve never seen Bergamot fruit anywhere, but use the Essential oil to make soap. It’s one of my favorites. I’ve also used Bergamot Mint Essential oil in the past.

    • Madelaine Bullwinkel

    Your bergamot marmalade looks wonderful. Since I won’t arrive in Paris until April, I purchased Meyer Lemons here at home and made a delicate preserve full of thinly sliced fruit pieces. My technique differs from yours in that I combine mandoline-sliced fruit pieces with fruit juice and an equal amount of water. A small bag of peels tied up in cheesecloth simmers with the fruit to assure a good pectin level. After I’ve taken out the bag of peels, I add the same volume sugar as marmalade base. It jells within 5 minutes. The 30 minute simmer is traditional but I find it overcooks and toughens the sugar. If you’re interested in trying a slightly different preserving style, my marmalade recipe is at

    • g

    I haven’t seen a bergamot, though I should try to look in our California farmers’ markets. However, I have two lemon trees in my yard, and I am ready to make marmalade with them. They are definitely organically grown, since I don’t really do anything to them other than water them.

    • christina

    Hit the Saveur web site and vote for David’s blog… I did and sent it on to my children to vote. He unfortunately and incorrectly only gets one chance. Tres unfair.

    • Kathy Matsunami

    Question – when I have made strawberry jam the color turns out to be a muddy pink instead of something which looks appetizing. Do you suggest to blanch the strawberries first as well?

    • Linda H

    In Phoenix, Arizona, the Seville-type orange trees are used for hedges because they can be trimmed to a narrow verticle shape. The fruit drops, and is considered a nuisance. It took several years before I realized these were marmalade oranges. Duh.
    I agree with the comment about Kusmi tea. Every blend made by Kusmi tastes great. It’s advertised as a French tea of Russian origin. Strange but good.

    • ChefCitron

    C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S on your Saveur Top Food Blog Nomination, David!!!

    I already cast my vote for my favorite-pastry-chef/favorite-food-blog-in-the-while-world…! Yippee!!!

    • the lacquer spoon

    Thanks for the beautiful and informative texts and photos always!! It’s a pity I don’t live in a place where fresh bergamot is available. If spreading your marmalade on a crispy toast is morning heaven, I love to make afternoon heaven by brewing Assam with a spoonful of the marmalade or simply diluting it with hot water and honey. What would you think?

    • Maggie

    I just stumbled on Naturalia and really liked it. Do you have a list of other organic food shops in Paris? I’m here for a while and would love to scout out great items for jams and baked goods. Thank you!

    • molly

    I read once that the average lemon is sprayed something like 7 times before it leaves the tree. I’m no organic dogmatic, but when I’ve bought organic citrus for candied peels and lemon bars, ever since.

    Bergamot has always been right up there with griffins and unicorns, the stuff of legend. Still, I can almost smell it from here. Looks fantastic.

    • paula brand

    Another thank you for this dynamite recipe. I can’t wait to try it.
    You inspire me, always, to try wonderful flavorful and delightful recipes.
    I am certain that the farmers market here in Santa Monica will have the bergamot
    I was thrilled to vote for you on Saveur and have told most of my foodie people
    friends to vote as well… (YOU ROCK!!!!)

    • David

    Kathy: If you marinate the strawberries in the sugar for about an hour, that helps set the color and make it nice and red.

    molly: You forgot leprechauns!

    Maggie: Lemo/Biocoop is very good, too. Check out my post for more food shopping places at American Ingredients in Paris.

    john: It was kind of a silly comment (and that’s being nice), but I thought linking to it was best, so people could read the whole passage itself. Unfortunately, the problem is a bit more complex than just telling people that one’s grandmother put waste on their produce and that was that.

    Suzen, Christina, ChefCitron & Paula: Thanks~!

    Misia: Pim has a recipe for Candied Mandarinquats, which should work with those kalamansi (or calamondin) fruits, too. Give that a try!

    Karen: Glad you enjoyed the book! That’s interesting about the marbles. I’m not sure if I’d personally recommend adding them to food that’s going to be consumed (don’t forget to count them going in…and count them when taking them out, to make sure you get them all!, if you do!)

    • Mark

    Mmmm I love marmalade. The stuff you can buy from the supermarket is never any good. I used to love the stuff my father would make as a kid. I have never even heard of a Bergamot. Interesting post David I like it when you introduce new types of produce.

    • The Paris Food Blague

    my bergamot consumption has been restricted to earl grey tea, but this recipe looks beautiful.

    interesting point about the french attitude toward “bio”….I think much of the scorn is directed at stored like Naturalia or La Vie Claire which sell more niche stuff (organic chocolate chip cookies! organic vanilla wafers! organic potato chips!) than good, basic, clean food. and their bread sucks….

    Also—good point about France being the third in pesticide use. Just because it’s a country with a long petit producteur tradition, doesn’t mean the agricultural landscape hasn’t become industrialized. as attested to by the current polemic around les OGM at the salon de l’agriculture…

    • Veronica

    I’ve just made marmalade with bigarades using this method:

    It’s like Jessica’s above, you cook the oranges whole and then halve and scrape out the innards with a spoon. The peel is so soft it’s really easy to cut finely. It looks and tastes good and is easy to do.

    • azelia

    Finally I think I found what’s growing in my parents garden in Portugal, they have lemons, oranges, clementines but there’s another citrus fruit which I could never find here in UK or see it books and now I think I have…

    the photos of yours look like they have thinner skin than ones my parents have but its the pointy end that make me think it’s the same, all other varieties of citrus don’t seem to have this pointy end except lemons, but these are not lemons, slightly sweeter.

    My parents called them limas – which is the incorrect name as it translate to limes in English which they’re not, and it’s quite common to name things wrong in Portugal from one generation to another.

    shame I can’t post a photograph of them.

    • egidija

    Yesterday I made this marmalade, but instead for bergamots (which are very big rarity here, in Lithuania) I took 3 big oranges and 2 lemons. It tastes and looks just fabulous… Thanks for recipe.
    Later I will put it on my blog :) To remember and to share :)

    • absinthe

    Saw these at our local natural food store and couldn’t quite make out all of the words in the Dutch description posted with them, but bought one anyway out of curiosity. Since it was labeled as a Bergamot Orange, I peeled it and distributed slices to my kids. We all took a bite and immediately puckered up since it was, of course, like biting into a lemon slice. Thanks for the enlightenment and recipe; next time any bergamots I see will be destined for marmalade. ;-)

    • Jessica Lee Binder

    Though I knew bergamot was used to make Earl Grey tea, I had never even thought about what Bergamot actually is. Ha, a citrus fruit. Hmm…would not have made that connection either. Thanks for the lesson.

    • Karin (an alien parisienne)

    The Canon Rebel and you are working particularly well together these days! :) The marmalade glows in such a goldenlicious (I had to make up the word for it, I decided) way in the photos. Delectable!

    I love the smell of bergamot, whether in a cup of Earl Grey or in a bath soap. I can barely dare to imagine what scent your kitchen had with all this bergamot action going on! Scent heaven, is what I think it must have been. Also, I am really glad to actually *see* a picture of a real bergamot. I knew they are citrus fruit, but had never actually ever seen one. I feel enlightened now. Thank you.

    As for the whole “bio” debate, I kinda think if one is going to eat the peels of a food, then going with as clean a product as possible is preferable. I’m glad you found some good products at Naturalia. Bobo, or no, I sure do shop a lot there as I have a lot of food and health issues and they have stuff I can eat.

    Oh maaaaan, don’t even get me started on Mr. Diaperdoo, I mean Gerard Depardieu. The Independent article referred to him as “The Greatest Living Frenchman™” with the trademark symbol. REALLY? Puuhhhhleeeeze. Oy. I think that about says it all, *snort*.

    • Nina

    I’ve never heard abt bergamot until i read ur post.The marmalade is delectable…awesome one!

    • elli

    Hi! I’m surprised that so many people didn’t know bergamont. I live in greece and have a farm with lemons, oranges (and the red ones called saguini) and bergamonts.
    I preserve bergamont in a sweet syrup I make. But only the outter which I peel a little so it’s not so bitter. It’s a traditional treat in my country.
    I love your blog.

    • Anita / Married …with Dinner

    we’re lucky enough to have a bergamot tree (, and this year it’s bearing lots of fruit. I made a tiny batch of marmalade a few weeks ago from a few fruits that fell off the tree during a windstorm ( but the flavor was pretty intense for toast and other typical marmalade applications. I’ve been dissolving it in hot water and drinking it like a tisane, which is my new comfort drink. But maybe I’ll try again with your methods and proportions.

    • David

    Hi Anita: I’m wondering if some of the bergamots on the US differ than those elsewhere. Kevin at Saving the Season added one to his Seville marmalade and found it inedible.

    I do recall buying bergamots at Monterey Market in Berkeley and using them, and not having any ‘intensity’ problems. Your bergamots looks a bit different than mine, so am wondering if there are different species?

    • forte2x

    I’ve made seville orange marmalade this week (Monterey Market and Berkeley Bowl both had them at a reasonable price – under $1 a pound), and I’m wondering why the proportions for this recipe are so different. (Also, I found that I had to let the temperature reach 220 degrees fairly consistently – it went up and then down over and over again – to get to the true jell point – in fact, I had to redo the process the next day after my first effort failed to work – it came out fine on recooking.)
    For the seville orange marmalade, you call for 6 seville oranges + 1 naval, 10 cups of water, and 8 cups of sugar, and you don’t blanche the peel, but boil it first until translucent.
    For this one, you have a very different proportion – far less water.

    • Tina

    Apologies if this has already been mentioned: for those of you who are impatient, June Taylor makes an astonishing bergamot marmalade, available at her studio in Berkeley and possibly on-line or at Cowgirl Creamery at the S.F. Ferry Bldg. I’m seriously addicted, had no idea bergamot was a citrus fruit until now . . .

    • lo

    Don’t think I’ve ever run across bergamot here, though they sound like a treat. Citrus marmalade is definitely a favorite — and I’ll bet that delicate flavor is just stellar. Bring on the crumpets!

    • Tami

    I think there are just some fruits and vegs that are worth the extra cost for organic more than others. Lettuce, na…but citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes and peachs. OMG, yes!

    • Sophie

    I have had this itch of a doubt nagging at me since I read this post. It appears that the citron bergamote used in this recipe is not what we know as bergamot. The former is citrus limeta risso, and the latter, used in earl grey and perfumes, is citrus bergamia. (See and tag=Citron%20Bergamote&blog_id=157&IncludeBlogs=157 — in French, sorry)

    This makes sense to me, as I did not expect bergamot (aka bergamot orange) to be edible, much like the bitter Seville orange; whereas this citron bergamote is like a lemon with a whiff of perfume, and having tasted it, delicious.

    To add to the confusion, there is also bergamot, even lemon bergamot (!), which are herbs in the mint family…

    • zeb

    For Monica on bitter cherry jam – the little bit I know – My aunt who lives in Sweden makes a cherry jam from sour cooking cherries that grow in her garden, she cracks some of the cherry stones and uses those in and some of the little kernels inside the stone jam to give that characteristic tang of bitterness, it comes, in her jam at least, from the kernels, which have a little cyanide in them, like so many stoned fruits, and also in bitter almonds…. I love this jam very much, it tastes slightly like that cherry liquer you get in Scandinavia if you know that taste…..

    But I love the idea of bergamot marmalade, I have never seen bergamot fruits in England, though I have grown the herb in the garden…. What an interesting post!

    • Rachel

    Someone probably already commented – but I believe the bergamot used in Earl Grey is from the herb bergamot, also known as bee balm. Same with the essential oil, I think.

    I don’t think either of them use the citrus bergamot, which I am intrigued by having never heard of it. I’m wondering if Dean&DeLucca or some other place in NYC carries them.

    • Rene Rodgers

    The organic citrus at my local grocery store are actually cheaper than the “normal” ones. Color me surprised. I’ll have to go see if they have any bergamonts.

    • Karin (an alien parisienne)

    Oh hey!! It looks like Sophie may be dead on with the difference!

    I looked up both on Wikipedia: citrus limetta risso (

    and orange bergamot ( and clearly the bergamot orange is actually green (go figure).

    What you have up there really does look like the citrus limetta, which is orange. HA! How’s that for color/name confusion?

    I bet your kitchen *still* smelled wonderful, no matter what it was that was going into that beautiful marmalade.

    • Karin (an alien parisienne)

    (P.S. Many apologies for not formatting those links as you like in comments, but every darn time I try to handcode HTML in comments here to link “properly,” something inevitably goes wrong! I check and re-check to make sure that I have “coded” properly, and everything looks good, only to have the link not work in the end. I’m not sure if others have had this trouble or not, but it seems to happen to me every time I try!)

    • David

    Karin and Sophie: Thanks for your comments. I updated the post with information about the various types of bergamots, or whatever they’re called (!)

    Rachel: According the various websites (including Wikipedia, which isn’t always accurate, but I checked several tea website, who concur) and all that Earl Grey tea is indeed infused with bergamot citrus oil.

    • Ksenia

    Congratulations on the Saveur and the IACP nominations, David! Very exciting news and extremely well-deserved.

    dedicated reader (and rare commentor),


    • Allie


    Thanks much for including a link to my bergamot marmalade. I feel honoured!

    If you have a chance to get more bergamots (their season ends late March to early April, so you still have a bit of time before they’re gone for the year), I highly recommend making some curd with them. It is really, really wonderful (I personally just prefer to eat it w/ a spoon, but it’s also good in tarts or with scones). Or “bergamade,” which is basically just like lemonade, but muskier.

    • frenchybutchic

    When I looked up your pictures I thought what you had bought weren’t bergamots.
    I used to buy some at the market in Barbès (the one under the métro). They are small, much paler than what you have, full of seeds and they are super tart. And fragrant! I used to make bergamot-scented tarte à la brousse with them, and bergamot curd. You should try bergamot ice cream too :-)
    I wish I could find some in Los Angeles.

    • BarbF

    I had to make some marmalade for this month’s Daring Bakers challenge (Orange Tian). I made mine with Cara Cara oranges, but followed your basic process. It came out beautifully! Bergamont is next, then maybe blood orange (because the color is so great).

    Also, thanks for the tip on the Wustof utility knife — I found one online (they’ve updated the model with an ergonomic handle, but I’ll trust that it still has all the qualities you like so much). I bought a few for myself & my cooking friends.

    FYI — there was also some discussion there on bread knives — for my money, the best one is the “LamsonSharp 9-1/2-Inch Forged, Offset Serrated Bread Knife”. I used to work at Sur La Table, and we tested many — that was the staff favorite, although they appear not to sell it there anymore. It can usually be found online for approx $80-90. I’ve had mine since 2002, and it’s as sharp as ever!

    • NancyO

    My great grandparents grew Bergamot and other citrus for the perfume industry in Sicily. Although I am an American, and I don’t have access to the real thing, I have a true love of the scent, and seek it out.

    Every Spring I buy a scent whose primary ingredient is Bergamot: last year it was Tea Vert by l’Occitane. Delish!

    • David

    frenchybutchic: I’m glad I took a snapshot of the bergamots at the health food store. (Although they look exactly like the bergamots sold in the markets in Paris.) Perhaps it’s a translation quirk; like mixtures of nuts are called fruits secs (dried fruits) even though they’re not.

    Allie: We bergamot marmalade-makers have to stay together : )

    BarbF: It’s too bad they stopped selling my favorite knife. They were so cheap, and sharp. Mine is about a decade old…and still sharp as…a knife!

    • Susan Carr

    Chunks of bergamot swimming in honey-based syrup are among many memories I have from two-weeks I spent in Turkey in 2008. So good for breakfast with yogurt in such a beguiling country! I’ve looked for bergamots—fresh or preserved—occasionally, but have not yet found any. Your wonderful post inspires me to look harder!

    • Sara

    I love Earl Grey tea, and knew that bergamot is some type of citrus…so this was a fun entry to read. I’m not sure I”ll ever see bergamots, but it’s exactly the thing I would see, be intrigued by, but ultimately not buy because I wouldn’t know what to do with. I’ll just have to remember this post!

    I read once (I think in McGee’s book) that all citrus are derived from two or three types of plants and it’s all hybrids and crosses since then. Crazy–but many thanks to those ingenious farmers!

    • Lydia M. Fanfan

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book, “The Sweet Life in Paris,” and I love reading your blog. I have a passion for cooking food from ALL over the world. Today, I made Saffron Paella with Asparagus, and Coquilles Saint-Jacques in a Marsala Wine Butter Sauce, and Sangria made with Pinot Griglio. However, sometimes it’s good to escape from the kitchen, and explore the world from a different vantage point. Tomorrow, I plan to go to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see the special Jean- Auguste Renoir Exhibition.

    • Kelly-Jane

    Oooh I’d forgotten how much I enjoy reading your blog, been away far too long.

    Earl Grey tea is my regular, love it’s floral citus-sey notes. I’ve never seen bergamot to buy, but will snap them up if I ever come across them. How I would love to smell and taste your marmalade! It’s a real pity the computer screen isn’t scratch and sniff :)

    • Pavitra

    Hey David,

    I am a newbie at canning. When I read this recipe, a stupid question came across my mind….

    I was always under the impression that the citrus fruit juice is an important component of the marmalade. But if I boil the finely cut fruit in water and then drain well, won’t all the fruit juice go down the drain?

    Is my notion that a marmalade needs citrus fruit juice ill-founded?

    • Michelle | Bleeding Espresso

    Ah, bergamot, the pride of our Calabria! I’ve had bergamot marmalade here made by monks and another type made by a local family, and indeed, it’s fairly dark in color…and delicious :)

    • GT

    I was lucky enough to find two whole bergamots at the grocery last month … hardly enough to make marmalade, but I used the zest and juice for making honey-citrus marshmallows. They were delicious – like a candy version of earl grey tea :-)

    • Keyscook

    Love your blog – and love Paris. 1 + 1 = Heaven!! Re: Calamondins.

    I’m originally from the Florida Keys, have lived in numerous tropical countries tho now live in San Diego. Grew up cooking and eating real Key Lime Pie (don’t get me started, and no – it should never be green or have whipped cream on it!) and Cuban food. One of the best desserts that I still make from there is Calamondin Cake. It’s killer. Before I planted my own trees here, I had to talk my Phillipino friends into letting some ripen for me on their ‘Calamansi’ trees.

    They used them green and thought I was crazy. In Australia, they call these Kumquats – not sure what they call real Kumquats. They also make wonderful curd, using your recipe for Lemon Curd.

    Thanks, David – and am SO glad you live in Paris. We’re hoping to come for a year – and then maybe another and another…. Need to rent the place here and get serious about it.

    • Susan Greene

    I once made tangerine marmalade and found that it tasted no different from orange marmalade. I do not know if it were the variety I purchased or now because I had not blanched the fruit. I guess it could be either. What do you think? I have also made pink grapefruit marmalade and that was a lot of fun.

    • Kai

    It’s one of the things I can’t make, here in the Philippines. I only know of bergamot as a tea flavoring, and I thought it was an herb or something, not exactly a citrus fruit.

    • Bob

    I found your article a very good read. I have always been under the impression that Earl Grey tea was flavored with Bergamont (an herb of the mint family). A small (1″) lavender-purple tubular flowers in a dense cluster atop a typical mint square stem. The flowers have a hairy upper lip and the lower lip is 3-lobed. The leaves are about 2 1/2″ long and have a grey-green cast to them; aromatic. The leaves & the flowers are edible. Have I been wrong all these years?

    • Carrie

    You rock for posting this. I just did a post the other day about these magical perfumed lemons here in Morocco that I have come to live for!!!! I had no idea that they are like a thing. I have also been searching for lemon recipes!!! Two for one! Thanks you.

    • Susan

    It would have been so great to have this recipe two weeks ago. I just spent my last day in Paris hunting in vain for bergamots. Now I’ll have to wait till next year to try this. Unless I luck out at Fairway market, you never know…

    GT’s honey-citrus marshmallows also sound fabulous. I’ll have to try those if I find the elusive fruit.

    • Karen

    Oh, I’m going to try this recipe asap! I’m lucky enough to live in CA and have my own bergamot orange tree. I’ve made bergamot marmalade before, but I like the sound of your version.

    I am probably going to stop mentioning weight of fruit in recipes from here on out, because of the variations in them, to avoid confusion. -dl

    No, no, if you’re going to drop one, drop the number rather than the weight! 700 grams is 700 grams, but 8 bergamot oranges could be anything. Mine look like yours, but I suspect are larger, and I’m glad you included the weight.

    Mine are also tart like a lemon and very perfumed. I used them once to make Shaker Lemon Pie, the one where you slice the lemons thinly, peel and all, and macerate in sugar. It’s divine with lemons, but with the bergamot oranges. . . well, it was like eating perfume, and I don’t mean that in a good way!

    • jule

    I second the question of Pavitra – doesn’t all the juice leave the bergamots while blanching? I bought some last weekend but still haven’t got round to using them, hope they’re still ok – looking forward to making the marmalade tomorrow!

    • David

    Jule and Pavitra: I had the same concerns as well. But most of the flavor in marmalade is from the pith and skins, which in the case of bergamots, are extremely strong in flavor.

    • Patricia Shea

    WOW!! I did not even know that bergamots were fruit…I thought it was an herb, thanks for the info, I bet that marmelade is divine!! Does it have somewhat of that Earl Grey flavour?? Thanks, Patricia

    • rebecca Rather

    When are you coming to Texas -I miss seeing you!


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