Fairies & Cherries


The wait is over. Blossom has turned to fruit and the cherry harvest has begun. The trees are so laden with their scarlet bounty that the boughs are sagging under the weight.

cherry-trees

andalucian-cherries---alcala-la-real

cherries-and-olives

The ladies in the village have been making all sorts of cherry treats, cakes, desserts, jams, and pastries. They’ve even held a competition to judge the best of the cherry culinary delights. And our little village has shot to fame as some of the ladies have starred in a short documentary about the cherries of this region.

On Saturday I was given 6 kilos of cherries. For half an hour I gorged on them until I physically couldn’t stuff another cherry in my mouth. There must have been over 200 stones around my chair outside in the courtyard. I then had a stunning idea. With the remaining 5 kilos, I could make cherry brandy.

assembling-ingredients

There are various recipes for this lush, sticky drink but the one that I like is 1 kilo of cherries, 1 litre of brandy, 2 cinnamon sticks and 300 grams of sugar.

cherry-brandy

I weighed out the cherries, then pricked them all over with a sharp knife before putting them in to large jars, adding the cinnamon and sugar and then glugging a litre of brandy over the top. After that I gave them a vigorous shake. The shaking is done every day for a week and then just once a week for the remaining 7 weeks. I shall have a taste in 2 months and see how the brandy is doing. Ideally the longer it is left the better the flavour and deeper the colour.

And finally, a rather lovely poem that I found by Robert Graves. Did I tell you that fairies do all the cherry picking?

Cherry Time

Cherries of the night are riper
Than the cherries pluckt at noon
Gather to your fairy piper
When he pipes his magic tune:
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter
For the eater
Under the moon.
And you’ll be fairies soon.

In the cherry pluckt at night,
With the dew of summer swelling,
There’s a juice of pure delight,
Cool, dark, sweet, divinely smelling.
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter
For the eater
In the moonlight.
And you’ll be fairies quite.

When I sound the fairy call,
Gather here in silent meeting,
Chin to knee on the orchard wall,
Cooled with dew and cherries eating.
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter.
For the eater
When the dews fall.
And you’ll be fairies all.

Robert Graves 1895-1985 English poet.

bunches-of-cherries