Red, cheerful and greedy. True symbol of summer and the countryside, cherries are a simple but irresistible pleasure.
I just bought a basket at the market and I already feel happy: an intoxicating scent of summer invades the house, while the cheerfulness of the intense red makes me think of the holidays.
Have you ever noticed? In May, when the cherry trees bloom, our mood changes too: the dense and fluffy flowers, white or pink, remind us, with their joyful explosion, that the summer is upon us. As the days get longer and the light becomes more intense, clusters of sweet and fleshy fruit ripen on the trees, promising a carefree season.
As children we used to steal them by adventurously climbing over walls and nimbly climbing trees, which is why cherries take me back in time and make me think of the flavours of the countryside and life in the open air. Even in the large park of La Darbia, between May and June the cherry trees in front of the vineyard seem to explode with luxuriant blooms. So, while I think of delicious jams or soft tarts, I ask chef Monfrinotti to explain some simple and delicious recipes to make the most of this summer fruit.
Have you ever thought about caramelized cherries? Or cooked in wine? Or again, in the filling of a strudel or spread on a brioche? Excellent in cheesecake or in the classic grandmother's cake, fantastic with cream or custard, also delicious in slightly spicy mustard. They are versatile and generous fruits, they go well with any dish. I like them for breakfast with local yogurt, but also in muffins and tiramisu. They are also delicious with eggnog, not to mention the varieties that are put in alcohol.
Herbal teas are also a real marvel, if you boil some water and dip a handful of dried cherry stalks into it, leaving them to infuse, you will get a delicious purifying drink within half an hour.
In Greek mythology, the cherry tree was consecrated to Venus, the goddess of beauty and love, while in the East this tree has always represented feminine beauty and prosperity. In Japan, the "sakura" is a true national symbol, legend has it that the colour of its petals and fruit is a reminder of the blood of the samurai who died in battle.
Cherry stones have also been found in some prehistoric sites, confirming that this juicy fruit was already appreciated by Neolithic men, while Pliny the Elder, in his "Naturalis historia" listed ten different varieties. We also admire them in some Renaissance paintings, which depict them on the tables of the nobility as a delicate accompaniment to game meat.
Here, now that I have told you so many beautiful things about cherries, I sit down at the table and enjoy their sweet taste. But first, honoring tradition, I make three wishes, as you should do the first time of the year when you taste these sweet delights ... I'm not sure if it works, but it's worth trying ... you never know!