Summer caught me by surprise. Spring was wet and cool. Even now the back-country Alpes-Maritimes are still green when they usually have long turned summer stony grey, hovering in the haze above the sea. The end of May slipped by with Cannes coming and gone, and a big family celebration distracting me. Before I knew it, my jackets and sweaters have gone unworn, the kids wear sandals every day and the market is overflowing with fruits.
We are still discovering our garden and to our surprise there is a small cherry tree that grew up wild out of one of the hedges in a little-used area. My eyes really did pop when I saw the red fruit but my excitement was immediately dashed when my neighbor reported that it was 'wild' and that the fruit was too sour to eat. Flash-forward a few days and E, who will try anything, ate one and reported that they are definitely good to eat.
For the record, I'm not a cherry person. That is, cherries are not the herald of summer that they are for many others. Growing up in the south it was all about peaches. Later, in California, we didn't eat cherries, unless it was cherry-flavor. So here, in the south of France, cherries are a kind of minor miracle and late discovery. Like most of the fruit we get this time of year, we don't even get to make them into anything; it is just eaten straight out of the bowl.
As I proved to myself several days later, our tree cherries are not are not amazing juicy-sweet as the market cherries but perfect for making into something. Since we had such a small amount from our weed-tree, I decided to do the classic provençal clafoutis which is a dish of fruit baked in custard. It's usually cherries but it can be anything really.
I was lazy and didn't pit the cherries which turned out to be brilliant - it's too much work for the kids to eat so that means that E and I get the dish to ourselves!