You know the age-old cliches about fruitcake. It's that "standard" gift that everyone used to give to their neighbors. That no one really wanted to get. That used to end up being used as doorstops or paperweights rather than being eaten. Its sticky-sweet glace (how DO you put those darn accents in?) fruit peeking out in un-natural reds and pinks and all manner of colors not found in the rainbow, and solidly encased in densely-packed sickeningly-sweet bread. I, for one, had stayed away from the stuff for as long as I can remember.
That was, until I found Big Daddy's Fruitcake at the Eugene Holiday Farmer's Market. Big Daddy's Fruitcake, hailing from Florence, OR, shows up at the Holiday Market every year. People wait all year for it to show up. And this year, having had one exquisite taste last year but too poor to afford a loaf myself from already having purchased all of my holiday gifts, was one of the ones ready and waiting for it to arrive.
This fruitcake isn't made from any un-naturally colored or flavored fruit...in fact, there's no candied fruit at all. It's just a mixture of delicious dried fruits and nuts - like peaches, pears, dates, papayas, and apples with walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds and peanuts thrown in. You can actually see and taste each one when you cut into your beautifully golden loaf. The pound-cake base is sweet, but not cloyingly so and the density of the loaf is enviable: a heavy-packed 2+ lbs...wow!
Gorgeous, isn't it? It's even cured in 3 kinds of alcohol (who could ask for more than that?!). If you're in the area and can make your way to the Holiday Market, stop by and get a loaf of this delicious treat. It's claims to be the best fruitcake on Earth, and I have to say, I agree. It's not cheap, but as a holiday indulgence, it's worth every penny. Even LB, who had stayed away from fruitcake for the same reasons I had, and being the L.B. that he is, fell in love with this fruitcake after a single bite and has been pilfering thin slices off of our rapidly disappearing loaf. I wish I had a recipe to share with you, but alas, I have no idea how to make fruitcake. I think I have my standard now, though, so if anyone has a recipe that's been in the family for years that might compare, please, please let me know. I'd love to bring back this standard in a form that even the neighbors would enjoy.