Monday, 3 June 2013

Fete de la Cerise

 
This is more like it...a perfect sunny Sunday in June. A hot sun shone on the Cherry Festival at Caseneuve, a charming hilltop village slightly off the beaten track opposite the Grand Luberon ridge. The whole of the Luberon valley is renowned for its soft fruit growing - apples, apricots, pears, plums, grapes, peaches, nectarines - but it's the cherry orchards that produce first, from drifts of white blossom in spring to the vibrant red dots swinging beneath pretty green leaves.
   
 
Stallholders came from as far afield as L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Gordes to showcase their fruit, and of course, in France you can't have a gathering of more than three people without a comprehensive spread of food available. The crowds wandered around tasting local wines and liqueurs, goats' cheeses, macaroons, honey and pastries, just enjoying the warmth and smells, as well as the spectacular views from high above the eastern end of the valley.

 
 

There were the obligatory lavender products, loose linen clothes, plenty of imaginative silver jewellery, and pottery - much on a cherry theme.



These tee-shirts were much in evidence among the stall-holders and helpers...



...and rather delightfully, the village committee's stall included a folder full of local family recipes for cherries. My favourite would have to be clafoutis, a baked vanilla custard-batter studded with the fruit and dredged with icing sugar when cooled. Hmm, now there's a tempting idea - we seem to have come back with an awful lot of cherries...

I really wanted to stay for the Grand Concours at 2.30pm: the Spitting the Cherry Stone competition. Exactly how far can a man or woman spit a cherry stone? Is there an acknowledged best technique - and does it seem a bit bonkers the first time you see it, a Fosbury flop of the cherry stone spitting world? Does the area have an unbeatable champ, identifiable by the historical red dribbles on his (or indeed her) lucky spitting shirt? Sadly, we will never know. We had to make our excuses and leave.

8 comments:

Gill Edwards said...

i just love cherries so i would have come away with loads too. My hubby and son like to have cherry stone spitting contests, nice to know it is not considered uncouth in other places.

Gill x

Bunched Undies said...

I'm sensing a great concept for a novel. Two aspiring cherry spitters meet and fall in love. They travel the Cherry Festival circuit, competing wherever they can. They slowly rise in the Cherry Spitter rankings until they are considered the best in world. Then, at the World Cherry Spitting Championships at Madison Square Garden, they face each other in the finals with the coveted Golden Cherry Cup at stake. Will their love survive the rigors of competition? And who will do all that laundry?
Exciting stuff....

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Looks like a lovely event. I must confess to being rather fond of cherry pit spitting, no matter how unladylike it may be. Dirty little secrets of the American midwest...

Marcheline said...

B.U. - you always make me laugh!

As for me, I'm a retro babe with a 1950's style kitchen, so of course anything with cherries on it is ALL REET! Love to eat the real thing, too. Cherries, that is... not kitchens.

Deborah Lawrenson said...

Classic comment, David (Bunched).

Julie Farrar said...

You need to share your clafoutis recipe with us. I love all things cherry.

Spangle said...

There's an abundance of cherries here at the moment, I just love them. I'm not sure if a cherry stone spitting contest sounds hygienic or not...but still may be quite fun.

Sorry I haven't been on your blog for sometime, I will try and visit more often.

Sara Louise said...

And now I'd like to know how far I can spit a cherry stone.
Imagine being the cherry stone spitting champion?! What a talent to boast about! :P

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