Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rain and Ripe Fruit

The bright blue Provençal skies have clouded over, and it's cool and overcast today. The rain moved in last night after we ate dinner, with a rushing sound and the smell of cool water hitting hot stone. We're going to the farmer's market in Arles this morning where we will no doubt indulge in an orgy of tasting olives and tapenades, breads and cheeses, bull salami (the bull sausage last night was quite good) and other charcuterie, and whatever new local fruits we can find. At the market in Tours a few weeks ago I bought nèfles du Japon, Japanese medlar fruit (Eriobotrya japonica). They're not really medlars, but that's the name they go by. A woman standing next to me said "oh, they're not really ripe yet, not in season" but I bought a few anyway after being offered a taste. They must be peeled of their thin tough skin, but it slips off easily, and the flesh underneath is somewhat crisp, with a flavor that reminded me of apricots and melon. They had come from Spain, and probably would be better eaten on site, ideally sitting on a cloth underneath the tree out of the hot sun, with a cool bottle of sparkling wine nearby. One of my fellow students goes to the island of Réunion for vacations frequently, and said that the fruit there is amazing, especially the lychees. Papayas and pineapple are always best on site in Hawai'i, I said, and we agreed that it's really not worth it to buy non-local fruit of most any type, but especially the sweet and fragile ones from the equatorial zone. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes from this area, other than strawberries. The stone fruit in the orchards we've been driving through won't be ripe for a while. Another delicious day is beginning - hope yours is/was just as tasty.

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