One of my earliest holiday memories is a huge bowl of cherries plunged in icy water to keep them cool. For me, that image conjures up what’s fantastic about spring and summer: the combination of beautiful weather and colourful, super-fresh fruit. And I’m not alone in this. Remember that idiom, ‘life is just a bowl of cherries’? We cherish the cherry so much, we’ve made it synonymous with the good things in life.
To get to the bottom of why this fruit is so abundantly cheerful, I’ve compiled an orchard-worth of fascinating facts. I’ve also sought out the wealth of ways in which different countries around the world make the most of their delectable flavour.
1. Juicy Facts
- Archaeologists dug up fossilized pips dating back to the Stone Age. Proof that our axe-wielding ancestors had great taste!
- Cherry blossom doesn’t necessarily mean cherries. The famous Japanese blossom trees, for example, are ornamental rather than fruit-bearing.
- Roman soldiers were partial to a fruit or two as they marched across the Empire, leaving a torrent of cherry trees in their wake.
2. Proof’s in the Pudding: Cherry Recipes from Around the World
Cherry Compote – Turkey
Otherwise known as vişne kompostosu, this is a traditional Turkish delight made by boiling the fruit – stems, stones and all – with sugar, vanilla and cloves. Honey is added at the last minute to add extra richness.
Cherries Jubilee – France and England
Served to Queen Victoria on her 50th Jubilee, this classic desert was the brainchild of renowned chef, Auguste Escoffier, who basically invented what we know as fine dining. The cherries are cooked in brandy, flambéed and then drizzled over ice cream. Definitely a dessert fit for a queen!
Sour Cherry Soup – Hungary
‘Cherry’ and ‘soup’ might not be words we hear together very often, but this concoction of sour fruit, cream and spices is a favourite in Hungary. It’s served cold, making it a refreshing dish for a long, lazy lunch on a hot day. Sounds like the essence of summer!
Cherry Cake – The UK
As traditional as red post-boxes and bowler hats, this cake has got to be one of the UK’s favourite puds. A simple madeira sponge dotted with glacé cherries, it’s 100% essential to accompany a slice with a nice cup of tea.
Black Forest Gâteau – Germany
Fresh fruit nestles between the layers of chocolate sponge in a classic black forest gateau, while the sour variety and infused brandy are used in the cake itself. This aromatic abundance of cherries may give rise to the traditional costume of the Black Forest region of Germany, which features a hat topped with brilliant red pompoms.
3. Cherries to Travel For
With all these imaginative and tempting treatments of our favourite fruit on offer, from Turkey to France, Hungary to the UK, it is certainly time to get holiday planning. As spring blooms and summer beckons, there’s a whole world of cherries just waiting to be enjoyed.