Good Food Blog
Peas and cherriesPosted at 3:30PM, 21 May 2008 by Mary Cadogan - Food writer
The annual Pea and Cherry festival which is happening in the next village next weekend is a sure sign that summer is indeed upon us, even though IÃ¢ÂÂm still wearing socks and sneaking the heating on for a quick blast in the mornings. There were big fat juicy bigarreau bigarreau cherries on sale in the market this morning but by the time the festival comes round there will be a huge range of different varieties to taste and buy.
The local cherry society will have a stand with blind tastings, games for the children and cherry recipes to try, plus all the local producers will be vying to attract customers to their stalls piled high with glistening fruit.
If the sun comes out, which it usually does, there will be a real holiday atmosphere as locals and visitors go from stall to stall chatting to the growers and choosing the best on offer.
As usual everything stops for lunch, which is usually a bargain 12 euros including wine. Everyone squashes up along trestle tables in the village square and the menu consists, youÃ¢ÂÂve guessed it, of course after course of dishes where peas and cherries feature in one form or another.
Last year we had pea soup minted pea soup, followed by duck with braised peas and lettuce, followed by cherry clafouti, cherry clafoutis , a sort of cherry batter pudding which can be very light and delicious but often tends towards the firm side of stodgy if not made with care. Now that I have lived in this part of France for over three years I greatly look forward to events like this one as they give the culinary calendar shape and texture and highlight the coming and going of the seasons. ItÃ¢ÂÂs also a good excuse to meet friends, swap gossip and recipes of course, and have a great day out for very little cost.
I am checking my own cherry tree each day as the tiny crop I lovingly nurtured on my young tree last year were scoffed by greedy birds just as they reached their peak of ripeness. So this year itÃ¢ÂÂs a battle of timing, but I think I can guess whoÃ¢ÂÂs going to win this one.