Bergamot

Bergamot is, so to speak, the apple of my eye. It's the only ingredient that has a separate label on this blog, because it's important enough to me to want to see it stand out separately. It's very important to me that people start knowing about this orange, so we can find it more commonly in stores and not have to have the oranges shipped in, in crates, from California or "luck out" enough to find one at a specialty store for $10/pound.

Bergamot, also called citrus aurantium ssp bergamia, is a bitter orange. It's not to be confused with the bergamot herb. It's fragrant and musky and just a beautiful fruit to behold. For those of you not familiar with the fruit, you may recognise it from the citrus-y, musky scent Earl Grey tea has. Also, it's in a lot of cosmetics. Probably 90% of the world's crop goes to the cosmetics industry. They have a very short growing season, generally from December to February. After February, they don't look so great most of the time. The rinds are so high in essential oils they rot very quickly.

This is not an orange you want to just pick up and eat. Trust me on this. Its acidity is somewhere between that of a lemon and a lime, and it is extremely unpleasant if you just eat it. Also, if you have extremely sensitive skin, don't forget to wear gloves when processing bergamots, or you may get a nasty rash. This has not actually happened to me, but I have seen it happen.

Most people value the bergamot orange exclusively for the potent essential oils found in its rind. I, on the other hand, am a more equal opportunity bergamot lover, so I use its juices as well. As chef after chef discovers this lovely fruit, one by one we all fall in love. Hopefully this post will help inspire you to seek out the fruit or request it from your grocer, so you to can begin to love it.

There are a variety of bergamot recipes on here, using both the peel and the juice, that you can use. Additionally, here are some other bergamot recipes from noted chefs around the world:

Oyster Mushroom Salad with Apple and Bergamot
Bergamot Gelato
Bergamot Marmalade
Bergamot Marmalade from David Lebovitz
Bergamot Madeleines from Chez Pim
Bergamot, Lemon, Raspberry and Blueberry Trifle
Bergamot Orange Custard Cups
Olive Oil Bergamot Shortbread
Bergamot Spoon Sweets
Calabria (this is an alcoholic drink)
Lemon and Bergamot Water Ice
Glazed Lemon or Bergamot Cake
Lemon and Bergamot Scented Yogurt Cake
Bergamot Orange Dreams
Bergamot Spoon Sweets
Bergamot Spoon Sweets
Bergamacello Efforts (further down the page)
Bergamot Marmalade (at the bottom of the page)
Bergamot and Vanilla Marmalade