"An elegant organic one-pound fruit cake, perfumed with port and brandy."￼ - The New York Times
"I had to make a special trip to BiRite just to see the $50/lb. fruitcake I heard about. It's real!" - @chrisna
It's Christmastime, and that means a host of holiday baked goods has hit the shelves, not least of which is that titan of impersonal Christmas gifting, the indefatigable fruitcake. Undaunted by the mockery of those weirded out by this cake's melange of desiccated fruit, sha-penaliva-sapping texture and booze-soaked heft, the fruitcake persists. And no fruitcake better represents the Bay Area's offering than June Taylor's Christmas Cake, which costs
a mere ha'penny $50 at your local Bi-Rite, farmers market or specialty foodstuffs outlet.
We sat down with the verdantly-wrapped loaf to learn more about the Middle Ages, hate-gifting and fruitcake redemption.
SFist: How much do you weigh?
Fruitcake: Whoa! Whoa! Can I get a merry Christmas first?
SFist: Sorry. Our good manners went out the door last time we checked our bank account. What we're getting at here is, and don't take this the wrong way, just how much booze is inside you right now?
Fruitcake: I can assure you that I am soaked far beyond medically-recommended limits with the finest private reserve port from St. George Spirits.
SFist: That sounds delicious. So do you consider yourself a bit of a one-percenter?
Fruitcake: The only thing one percent about me is the percent I give a shit about Internet fruitcake haters. Actually, make that zero percent.
SFist: Tell me a bit more about yourself and your background, if you don't mind.
Fruitcake: Not at all. My ancestry goes all the way back to Ancient Rome, when what I assume were accomplished scholars, sculptors and well-muscled centurions baked me with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, raisins and barley mash. Preserved fruits and honey came into play in the Middle Ages, when kings feasted on fruitcakes before their untimely gout and hemophilia-related deaths. At some point along the way, people realized that soaking me in brandy and other liqueurs made me both extra delicious and resistant to mold, which as you can imagine
that's a win-win.
Fruitcake: Especially in the Middle Ages. I mean that shit was rough. The ratio of moldy food to non-moldy food was ... well frankly it was not good.
SFist: So how have things changed for fruitcakes over the decades?
Fruitcake: Somewhere along the line, people realized that we made good Christmas gifts for people you wouldn't want to touch with a ten-food pole. For reasons mentioned above, we ship really well, so Aunt Erma with the halitosis or the in-laws or whatever can get a present in the mail without you having to physically be near them or talk to them. So fruitcake was popularized but in this kind of backhanded way. Like, getting a fruitcake meant your friends and family kind of hated you.
SFist: And how does that make you feel?
Fruitcake: Well, here's the trick. I am fucking delicious. I mean look: my preparation takes an entire whole year, from candying citrus peels in winter and drying stone fruits and grapes in the summer. I've got port, brandy, spices, more brandy, the whole nine yards. And if you pick me up, you'll see that this small package has the same weight and consistency as a month-old baby. I mean, I am the golden god of fruitcakes. June Taylor, who makes me, even watercolors my wrapper and hand-labels me with a letterpress.
Fruitcake: Goddamn it. Point being, no one is going to shell out $50 to give someone they hate a fruitcake. We're going to start a revolution.
SFist: So do you feel like public perception of fruitcakes is changing?
Fruitcake: I hope so. I'd really like to see younger folks getting into fruitcakes, maybe having parties with lots of cocaine and orgies and fruitcakes. Maybe in the Hollywood hills, or upper echelons of Marin County high schools ...
I'm sorry, that might not happen.
Fruitcake: Have you eaten me yet?
SFist: No ... I don't think I can afford you.
Fruitcake: Don't knock me until you've tried me.
In other news, this fruitcake looks absolutely delicious and we're currently accepting donations towards the SFist Fruitcake Opportunity Fund, through which underfed blog staffers are paired with inspiring fruitcake slices to provide holiday survival mentoring and support.