Upscale Version of Maraschino Cherries

Griottines

Griottines

I Paid: $10.99 for a 2-ounce jar (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 5 stars

Marketing: 5 stars

If you're a food reviewer like me, the prospect of paying more than $10 for a tiny jar of nine hyperluxurious maraschino-esque cherries is actually appealing. Will these cherries live up to their price? The drama is high!

And live up to it they do. French-made Griottines ("tasty wild Morello cherries with the stones removed, prepared in a liqueur whose unique recipe is closely guarded") reveal, in a kirsch-soaked flash of brilliance, just what heights the miserable, almost universally disliked maraschino cherry is capable of obtaining.

A comparison with standard-issue maraschinos is revealing. The typical brandy Old Fashioned garnish is one note: simple, bright, artificial fruit sweetness and a rubbery texture. Cloying. Fake taste, fake color, fake texture—practically plastic. A Griottine, by contrast, has natural depth at every turn. The eminently drinkable kirsch/mystery booze mix that surrounds the cherries is sweet, sure, but it's more suggestive of brandy's mature buttery depth. The cherries themselves are tender but snappy, with a gently earthy fruit flavor. These are not merely maraschino cherries for adults—they're maraschino cherries for adults with good (and expensive) taste.

Whether that's worth more than a buck a cherry is up to the palate (and wallet) of the customer, but it's always nice when paying a lot more actually yields a much better product.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.