Late yesterday evening I returned from Christmas shopping to find a package had arrived from VFYT maestro James C., in England: two jars of the greatest confiture in the world. The Alsatian wonder woman Christine Ferber’s jams and jellies are one of the things that makes life worth living, but they are very, very difficult to find in the US. To discover one on your front porch is an extraordinary blessing; to find two is something just shy of a Christmas miracle.

But that’s how it is with James C., whom I met this year in Florence, when he came down to spend a few days with Casella and me. That was the highlight of my year. For the record, the flavors he sent me are cerises noires d’Alsace et kirsch (Alsatian black cherry and cherry eau de vie) and fraises Charlotte d’Alsace (Alsatian strawberry tart). That toast you see in front of you immanentized the eschaton. God bless you all this day, especially James C.

UPDATE: Look what just came in the mail — a Christmas mix from one of my readers. I’m importing it into iTunes now and will be playing it all afternoon. Thanks Josh, and Merry Christmas to all y’all out west.