Monday 29 November 2010

Five A Day Fruit And Veg - At Christmastime

A lovely card from Mags at the weekend reminded me of Dickens’ description of a Victorian fruiterers at Christmas [from “Christmas Carol”]. Read it and your mouths will water [gratis!]

beuckelaer  market woman

There were pears and apples, clustered high in blooming pyramids; there were bunches of grapes, made, in the shopkeepers' benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks, that people's mouths might water gratis as they passed; there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, recalling, in their fragrance, ancient walks among the woods, and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves; there were Norfolk Biffins, squat and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and, in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner.

beuckelaer detail

Norfolk Biffins are an old English variety, crisp with a hint of cinnamon – good for eating, drying and baking. They were very popular with the Victorians and taken up to London at Christmas to be sold in Fortnum & Masons etc! Must look out for these next time I am at Cornerstones.

norfolk biffin



The top picture- and detail from it are “Market Woman with fruit, vegetables and poultry” by the Flemish artist Joachim Beuckelaer


  1. Hi Angela, Lovely picture, just replying to your question. I buy my freezer paper from The Fabric Guild, Cobden St. Leicester (Kisko) and I think my printer is inkjet.
    Love Jillx

  2. I had a similar card and felt I wanted to eat it!
    Arent we going to have fun following Jill's printing instructions....if I can ever find freezer paper here!

  3. Beautiful images and wonderful words.
    No one "does" Christmas quite like Charles Dickens.

  4. I'm just so impressed with your Norfolk Biffin knowledge- pretty much restriced to Tesco Gala here!

  5. A Dickins Christmas! Oranges ~ eaten after dinner ~ now that's a healthy dessert.


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