Charentais and Mara would have been a winning double act but for…

I was badly disappointed by some strawberries yesterday. We try to buy summer fruit and vegetables from the wonderful local roadside stalls rather than the “grandes surfaces” – they look better and taste better. The strawberries in question were to be part of the dessert that I had planned for today’s family lunch. Fourteen people will be seated under the awning overlooking the pool hopefully enjoying some good food – of which more tomorrow, should all go as planned. The dessert is one of Nigel Slater’s wonderfully simple ideas from his book “Real Fast Puddings” and simply entails cutting small, ripe Charentais melons in half, scooping out the seeds and filling the cavity with fresh, perfumed strawberries over which is poured some good Cremant de Bourgogne. The strawberries that would have fulfilled this role, although carefully selected from our favourite stall, had decided to putrefy en masse, like some cult suicide pact. I was on the verge of joining them in that pact but suddenly found myself on the dark side, coal scuttle on my head, talking in a strange husky voice and planning dreadful fruit filled torments for all Vendeen roadside vendors of fruit. Then I took off the coal scuttle, to make driving to the supermarket easier, and bought the replacements. The picture above is how one of the few surviving roadside stars looked, a perfect Mara. The replacements are not body doubles, but I hope no one will notice the flavour change – add more Cremant de Bourgogne may be the answer in order to dull messages to the brain,

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Cooking, desserts, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, France, Nigel Slater, Photography, Photography holiday, Wine, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Charentais and Mara would have been a winning double act but for…

  1. Add more cremant. Et les gariguettes?

  2. What a disappointment. We always buy our fruit from the producer, especially strawberries – mostly gariguettes and earlier in the summer here – but I suppose even they can’t always be perfect. I’m sure lunch will be delicious in spite of the change of plan/strawberry – bon appetit!

  3. ambrosiana says:

    I am so sorry you had this bad experience with strawberries. Are strawberries in France still in season? In Italy, the season ended so you don’t find strawberries anymore!!!

  4. hopeeternal says:

    We love Charentais melons too but what a shame about your strawberries: sometimes a roadside bargain is not the bargain it seems! Yet another good idea from Nigel Slater – and a great idea for a quick summer dessert. Could make a good summer starter too. I will be trying this. We have just brought back some bottles of Muscador Sparkling White from France which would work well (recommended by another blogger as good and inexpensive – €2.10 or less in Carrefour but best price at SuperU Le Puy €1.85ish, have lost receipt). Noticed the other day that ASDA (in the UK) has some bottles of sparkling non-alcoholic – have yet to try it – but that might be a good alternative.
    ‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’

  5. Sounds like you saved the day! I am always so terribly disappointed when the berries go bad in less than 24 hours and ruin my dish…too many berries in the trash. Of course I do not live where fresh roadside strawberries are available… Enjoy your time!

  6. Sorry to hear about the mass suicide of your strawberries. I’m so disappointed when that happens. The one that survived looks good!

  7. We had great strawberries this year, but a short season. The peaches at first were terrible, nothing’s more disappointing!

  8. joshuafagans says:

    Strawberries can be fickle and definitely prone to spoil quickly. The recipe sounds like a very interesting one though.

  9. Karen says:

    Your remaining berries or should I say berry looks beautiful. I had fresh figs commit suicide on me last week. Six perfect figs one afternoon and then fuzzy (not in a good way) the next. Oh the trials and tribulations.

  10. oh my goodness I love your writing! I think the strawberry cult suicide pact was the funniest thing I’ve read on a blog in awhile! I’m adding you to my reader and blogroll!

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