According to at least one entrepreneurial vendor at the La Cienega Farmers' Market, you don't have to travel to Paris to sample the famous French plum varietal known as la quetsche. For that matter, Ha's Apple Farm tells us, you don't need to travel to Italy either: he's got Italian plums, too. Although both of these late fall plums are traditionally particular to certain regions of France and Italy, David and Kyung Ha have managed to bring these fruits to our Southern California shores -- err, soil -- for a few short autumn weeks.
The French plum is slightly smaller and more deeply purple-hued than its Italian cousin, which has a chalky blue-colored skin. In the image seen here the Italian plums are on the left, while the French plums are to the right. Although both have yellow flesh, the sweet and soft quetsche may be eaten as is. The Italian plum is better for cooking and baking. Buy a bushel of the Italian plums and impress your friends this holiday season with homemade plum jam (take a class from one of these jammers or try your hand at our award-winning recipe) or surprise them with a seemingly out-of-season stone fruit tart. The French plums are fabulous in that recipe, too -- In Alsace, the region where the French plum originates, pies in honor of the quetsche season appear on tables across the region during the fall.
Be sure to exclaim "Oh là là!" when you see these plums at the market -- it's only right.