15 May 2008

Provence cherries

{LE PRINTEMS EN PROVENCE} Spring is finally here, and with that my 1st visit of the season to Provence. You can really see the difference in climate as you drive further south – the first thing I noticed was how many leaves were already out on the grapevines. And how the cherries on our cherry trees blossomed literally overnight, turning lovely shades of rosy pink, red and yellow !!! 

Then there was the picking of fresh laural leaves – to be dried and used for cooking (ie curry) and the tasting of my parents homemade olive oil – made only from the olives handpicked from our olive grove. The yield while small, produced an oil of unsurpassed quality, not like anything I had ever tasted. This was the 1st year that we have tried making the olive oil this way. Normally our olives are sent to the cooperative, mixed with other harvests and we receive a % of the oil based on the N° of kilos of olives we provide. The yield is better however the oil has a more bitter taste – and though excellent, it cannot hold a candle to the 100% family variety.  Quality vs quantity has triumphed again.

Provence - spring

The highlight of our weekend was being invited to the home of Bill & Gisele Lieberman, friends of my parents, who own a lovely country house called the Mas des Patres overlooking the valley in Uzes. We spent the late afternoon chatting & eating their delicious cheese cake and fig tart, and sipping on champagne – after their toast for out forthcoming wedding!

The only sad news of our trip were the apricot trees…

Provence appricots

Normally covered with ripening fruit, there were no more than 6 little green apricots on our two trees this year. Apparently there had been a rather unexpected spring frost, which negatively affected all the apricot trees in the area. My heart goes out to the farmers of the region, as unless their crops were further south, where the frost did not hit, they would have suffered for this season.

On a more positive note, I will shortly be posting two recipe, one for grilled asparagus as ’tis the season’, and the other for an almond cake which I have perfected after baking the original version with my mom in Provence.

2 Responses to “SPRING IN PROVENCE”

  1. Homemade olive oil? That sounds so enticing!

  2. Erika (SWEET PEA) Says:

    Gretchen: honestly the taste is difficult to put into words – it is so soft, almost sweet, with no bitterness, and with a thicker more velvety texture. The other olive oil we have made is great for salad dressing & cooking, but this new 100% PURE home-grown variety, can be eaten on its own with a spoon, on bread, over buffalo tomatoes….

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