picture of bergamot oranges on tree

From Brunch to Obsession: Bergamot Oranges

Sunday afternoon is the perfect time to have brunch with friends who you haven’t seen in a long time. On a recent Sunday, I did exactly that. Along the way I also found a new flavor that I absolutely love: bergamot oranges.

That morning I drove over to the Beverly Hills farmer’s market behind City Hall to find some vegetables to go along with an egg scramble and a nice bread to balance the mostly savory spread we’d begun to plan. The vegetables were easy enough to find, though the search for bread came with a few more decisions. I finally decided on a loaf of raisin challah to accompany our brunch. Right before I left the farmer’s market, I stopped by a tent from Aris Natural Food and sampled several varieties of their sheep’s milk yogurts.

I would like to start by saying that my experience at the tent was absolutely lovely. The vendors who spoke with me were quite friendly and had great personalities. It also helped that I was showered with compliments with every sample that I tried from their booth. Several of their flavors were quite standard – strawberry, blueberry, and cherry- but still delicious. I was impressed by their apple caramel yogurt which was very rich and tasted like dessert. Then, the vendor let me sample the pergamot (also known as bergamot) yogurt. Seconds after tasting the yogurt, my face lit up at its sweet, citrus flavor. The bergamot was refreshing and felt very light compared to the other yogurts. Out of all of the yogurts available, I knew this was the one I had to purchase.

Fast forward to brunch.

After we ate our main brunch of egg scramble with veggies, freshly cooked bacon, and cantaloupe (for them), Kyla warmed the challah. Ultimately, we used the yogurt as a spread. The combination of the light, airy challah with the flavors of the yogurt was a winner – we absolutely loved it! I’m sure that if I didn’t have self control, I would have eaten the entire loaf in one sitting just like that.

Challah is truly amazing if you have not already tried some, by the way. Photo from Pixabay

Now I want to buy some bergamot preserves or something of the sort to get that same flavor!

Out of curiosity, I did a little bit of research on the bergamot. It is a citrus fruit with a green color similar to lime, bearing a pear-like shape (check it out in the featured photo). Production of this fruit is primarily limited to the Ionian Sea coastal areas of the province of Reggio di Calabria in Italy, though it is also grown in southern France, Cote d’Ivoire, and southern Turkey.  For you people interested in essential oils, it may be beneficial for digestion, relaxation, as a mosquito repellant, antispasmodic, and antiseptic (I strongly recommend doing research before deciding to use any essential oil).

As far as food goes, it is well known as a flavoring in Earl Grey tea, and recipes I’ve seen on the internet have used bergamot primarily in baked goods. Extracts from bergamot may lower cholesterol and fatty deposits in the liver, as well as lower blood sugar (according to this study). It’s surprisingly difficult to find any nutritional information on bergamot oranges in particular, but I assume it may be similar to other orange varieties in providing excellent amounts of vitamin C and varying quantities of calcium, potassium, thiamine, niacin and magnesium.

If you are into foods that are somewhat sweet, somewhat sour/tangy, then this fruit is something that you should try. It is quite refreshing and would satisfy the palate of anyone who loves citrus fruits!