Shackleton's Plums in Brandy

Fruit in Brandy

Did you see the article on the 1914 Fortnum & Mason shopping list for Shackleton's Imperial Transarctic Expedition in Country Life's Ernest Shackelton’s arctic shopping list, and other secrets of Britain’s great shops? Fascinating.

Happily, the shopping list is preserved in Fortnum's famous archives. And speaking of preserving, it appears the expedition team had a fondness for fruit in brandy. As we never tire of pointing out, practically anything is improved when combined with a dash of alcohol.

I'm loath to consider a new expedition after the ill-fated Everest expedition (that never was). But if you were to put a shopping list together for your own expedition, obviously, you'll be opening an account with our dear friends at Fortnum's; but be sure to take a tip from Shackleton's crew and add a few jars of fruit in alcohol to ease the passage.

Vergers de Gascogne

Vergers de Gascogne have been bottling all manner of fruits with a dash of alcohol since 1935. I can recommend the Mini Apples in Calvados, Green Figs in Armagnac and Mini Pears in Brandy. Vergers describe the process as 'refreshing' the fruit with a glass of alcohol, and their combinations really bring out the flavours. They recommend the fruits are served as an aperitif, but they can also serve as decoration for cocktails or be matched with cheese and puddings.

How can you resist those little apples in a jar?

Our estimable new friends at Confit Direct supply Vergers' fruits in the UK as well as countless other mouth-watering French delicacies.


  1. Love Fortnum and Mason - approachable, historic, and eclectic.

    1. Thanks Tony. Agreed. The last of an ancient breed. Best wishes, Tweedy


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