The queen loves it, James Bond loves it, and even commoners are quite partial to it.
It is strawberry jam, but not just any anonymous peanut butter and jelly filling. A jam made with special miniature strawberries grown in a small corner of the UK.
It bursts with an intensely sweet aroma from that very first pop of the lid twisting open to the last desperate scrapes at the bottom of the glass jar. And the edges: Don't forget to get the last sticky dregs from the edges, with your finger if you have to. Go ahead and shove your nose in for one last inhale.
The unique flavor comes from the tiny strawberries grown by Wilkin & Sons Ltd. in the countryside surrounding Tiptree in Essex. The company has created a jam so quintessentially British, Tiptree Little Scarlet Strawberry Conserve label even declares By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen. This makes it all the more impressive and slightly confusing that the main ingredient originally comes from North America.
C.J. Wilkin, the company's director, visited North America in the early 1900s and took the Fragaria virginiana plant back to England. His family had been manufacturing conserves since 1885 but with regular, unremarkable, dreadfully ordinary berries. Making the dime-size wild strawberries into the company's signature fruit significantly upped its jam game.