Perusing Yotam Ottlenghi's New Vegetarian column on the Guardian website, I ran across a typically intriguing recipe -- www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/... -- for aubergine kuku, a Persian eggplant frittata (as it were) with a surprise ingredient: dried barberries.
While I've seen the fruits on barberry shrubs, I've never seen them in a store. So before heading off on a search, I was wondering whether anybody has. The berry is the fruit of the incredibly thorny European barberry (Berberis vulgaris var. asperma) and may be known as épine-vinette, vinetier or berbéride in French. Barberries are used in cooking in the Middle East, especially Iran, where they're called zereshk.
The Iranian/Middle East connection probably means that Akhavan or Adonis would be a good place to start looking. Unfortunately both are out of the way for me, so if someone could check the next time s/he's in one or the other store, I'd much appreciate it. FWIW, the Olives et Épices website doesn't list them.
And if you aren't familiar with Ottolenghi: the Cookbook (available at Appetite for Books), check out the following thread and the links therein: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/641730
The Ottolenghi blog is pretty cool too: www.ottolenghi.co.uk