Ripe, red cherries remove my will power and, at the first bite, stir old memories of climbing ladders into cherry trees laden with fruit that looked like jewelry, of finding that all cherries were not red, of delighting in the beauty of nature’s packaging, of hoping the next cherry that I ate would not have a sour note like the last one and the moment of delight when that wish came true but most of all, for me, of realising that however cleverly I cooked them, they always tasted best when eaten in their natural state. I have eaten them in warm puffed up, sweetly sugared clafoutis, poached and served in chilled glasses of rosé, in cobblers, pies and tarts but none taste more ravishing than when taken naked and unadorned.
Cherries are as delicious plucked directly from the sun warmed branch as they are when eaten chilled, from a bowl in the fridge. Cherries, after a long and arduous summer journey, will still be firm, juicy and in one piece on arrival at the picnic site, the combination of which qualities will not be shared by guest or sandwich. On reflection, “still juicy” is not a quality desired in either guest or sandwich, but is definitely one that is required of, and is unfailingly supplied by, the travelling cherry.
Eating a bowl of ripe cherries in the shade of a tree on a sunny day is a good moment: such a moment is hard to improve but a cold glass of something along the lines of a German Auslese will certainly not be detrimental. Black cherries are very good too, but more about that another time.