Culinary Hike for Damasson Rouge Plums (Jura)

Starting in the village of Courchavon, you can take a 5-km circular path to discover a special regional plum from the Jura: the Damasson Rouge. Along the Chemin de Damas, when you reach Mormont, I recommend stopping at the Gîte la Bergerie either for something to eat or for an overnight stay.

The Ancienne église (ancient church) along the Chemin de Damas.

Damasson Rouge Plums

According to the local legend, the Crusaders brought back these fragrant little plums from Damascus (Damas in French) to what is now the Jura canton. Today, these trees grow along the Chemin de Damas. You’ll find them at places like the Gîte La Bergerie, where they’re also available for sale (when in season) along with products made from the fruit.

Damasson rouge plums from Gîte La Bergerie.

Damasson rouge plums are used by distillers to make Damassine, an eau-de-vie. This alcoholic beverage earned an appellation d’origine protégée (AOP) designation in 2010. You can learn about Damassine at Ô Vergers d’Ajoie, the Swiss museum of fruit and distilling, in nearby Porrentruy. This museum also has an excellent market, which sells the plums grown at its on-site orchard.

Chemin de Damas

The Chemin de Damas has a number of sites for you to take in along the path. In addition to admiring the plum trees, you can see ruins of the Châtel-Vouhay and the ancient church tower on the hillside above Courchavon. The highlight for me was my family’s visit to the Gîte La Bergerie.

The start of the Chemin de Damas from Courchavon, near the fountain “taillée dans la roche.”

Gîte la Bergerie

As you enter the village of Mormont, you will arrive at the Gîte La Bergerie. A gîte is a holiday home, oftentimes in a more rural setting. The Amstutz family manages La Bergerie, set in the Ajoie region of the Jura. There are 12 double rooms on the property, as well as overnight accommodations for larger groups. This property is also part of “Les chemins du bio,” a program that offers multiple day hiking itineraries with overnight accommodations at local organic farms.

Damasson rouge plums at the Gîte La Bergerie in Mormont.

My family and I were warmly greeted when we arrived by Mr. Amstutz and his colleagues. Even though they were busy getting ready for another event, they prepared a small snack for us to enjoy at a picnic table under a willow tree. This included a planchette with slices of Totché (a savory cream cake from the Jura) and Saucisse à la damassine.

Totché with Saucisse à la damassine at the Gîte La Bergerie
Gîte La Bergerie in Mormont, Switzerland

For more information:

Courchavon is about 1 hour and 5 minutes by train from the bilingual city of Bienne / Biel. You can check the SBB website for current train times.

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