The Journal | #Fortnums

Elvas Plums

Please form an orderly queue, because it’s finally that time of the year when we can say yes to that oft-asked question: are the Elvas Plums here yet?

These sweet treats have been causing quite a stir since 1815, when, having proven so sought-after, we started announcing their arrival every autumn in The Times.

The season of Elvas Plums is short, and all the sweeter for it. Grown in the unique microclimate of Portugal’s Elvas region on the Spanish border, each plum is handpicked and harvested in July before taking a long, leisurely bath in sugar for six weeks.

The plump plums - which some say are the inspiration for the Sugar Plum Fairy in Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, drawn for Fortnum's in 1956 by Edward Bawden (below) - are then carefully washed down and dried under the Mediterranean sun, ready to grace any deserving cheese board. So without further ado: on your marks, set, go.
Elvas Plums
Sugarplum Fairy, Edward Bawden