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

51 thoughts on “Fairies & Cherries

  1. Did you have a crop of these too? After being given so much it makes me wonder are there grown for sale or not? The cherry brandy sounds an excellent idea and should prove very warming in the Winter.
    xxx Massive Hugs to you both xxx

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    1. The cherries are grown to sell – boxes and boxes and boxes of them are leaving the village every day. It’s like Cherry-ville here! I cant’ wait to try the brandy, there’s something wonderful retro about cherry brandy and, just think of all those boozy cherries that will be left…a dollop of cream? Massive hugs to you, dear David from both of us xxxxxx

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  2. Wow! Olives, now cherries – you are rich with fresh-from-the-tree goodness 🙂 My first experience of over drinking came from a cherry concoction called Cherry Bounce. It may be similar to cherry brandy? Happy marinating 🙂

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  3. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm I have some cherries in a punnet in the fridge but they won’t be there much longer (they do tend to travel through me a bit quickly though, if you get my drift) Love the poem, not read that before. :-9

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  4. Heaven knows what evil concoction you’ll brew when the plums get ripe.
    Here a tale when I was Brkon from Bratislava in a previous life.

    “My dear old Nana had a nice little earner going with her sly-grog slivovitz operation inside the cow-shed. The combination of so much of my Nana’s duty-free slivovitz and so many warm thighs made me a debauched and lost soul sadly wandering the Danube’s river bank. In vain I searched for the anchor that would hold me steady. I knew there had to be something more to life than sex and booze”.

    Your tale of cherries and creative efforts with sticks of cinnamon just brought back memories of Brkon.

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    1. This is the thing, I’m not sure about whether plums are a big thing here. Peaches yes, nectarines yes, apricots yes but plums? I’m sure I could make anything lethal if I tried!

      Duty-free Slivovitz – what a great name! Maybe I could make a nice little earner from it too? That’s of course if I don’t drink the lot in one sitting…..

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  5. Many years ago I used to enjoy the various fruity brandies and plastered my guitar case with the labels of each different variety and brand. It never occurred to me to make my own and now that alcohol is forbidden I shan’t. But your mixture sounds intriguing and I wish I could try a sip…I bet it will be fantastic.
    I may have mentioned elsewhere that , like you, I once gorged myself on cherries until I could eat no more…only I got quite ill. I still love ’em and envy you the opportunity to enjoy them so fresh.
    I would love to experience the view you had of a landscape filled with cherries blossoms. Was there a strong scent to accompany the flowers?

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    1. The cherry blossoms didn’t have a strong smell but the orange blossoms the other side of the mountains, WOW-EEEEE I’ve never smelt anything like it. Possibly one of the most beautiful scents ever. Intoxicating.

      The idea of making cherry brandy hit me after I’d stuffed myself and then realised that Pete was going away the next day back to England and that I had to do something with them or they’d go to waste. We don’t have a freezer and I needed to conserve them somehow. If I’d eaten 6 kilos over a couple of days I think I might well have popped. I’ve made sloe gin before and that was a great success, so I’m hoping that the cherry brandy is good too!

      I didn’t know that you played the guitar? how wonderful. What a talented man you are, Steve 😀

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      1. The guitar playing is ancient history, Lottie just like the brandy drinking. 🙂
        I’ve never smelled orange blossoms as citrus doesn’t grow well here in the north and we’ve never tried an indoor orange tree. But your expression of delight at the smell tells me I’ve definitely missed something special.

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      1. How could you forget the brandy?! 😉
        I’ve just read a comment from Ralph. He said that the fairies go to Torremolinos when they’ve finished picking the cherries. I’m not sure how to put this without sounding like a fearful snob…probably less said the better but in our world, fairies would give Torremolinos a VERY wide berth 😀

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  6. You are such a lucky woman with the marvelous bounty that is gifted to you and Pete. Cherries are one of three of my most favorite fruit.

    At my local HEB grocery the cherries run any where from $6-8 dollars per pound. They are shipped from Michigan and Washington state. Can’t afford to buy them often but I splurge on average of once per week when they are in season.

    As an added note, Traverse City, Michigan is called the cherry growing capitol of the US or maybe promoted of the world. My paternal grandfather, who was French left Traverse City as a young man to seek an opportunity to grow cotton. I still have distant relatives in Traverse City.

    The scent most be heavenly with all the different blossoms. I don’t recall if you mentioned in the past what olive blossom fragance is like.

    The photos are divine and surely make my mouth water. The cherries here are not yet in the store.

    I really like this post. Yvonne xxxx

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    1. Yvonne, I’m longing to know what your two other favourite fruits are?

      How interesting about your paternal grandfather and your relatives. I had no idea about Michigan being the cherry capitol of the US – you are mine of information, thank you!

      I feel very blessed to be living in this part of Spain. We are spoilt rotten with good food and fresh produce. The villagers are super-generous, always giving us vegetables and fruit and it’s SO GOOD!

      Cherries are very expensive in the UK as most of them are imported but the South-East is a big cherry growing region and produce great cherries later on in the summer.

      I’ve now made 4 batches of the cherry brandy and I’m tempted to make more. I think it will make a nice Christmas present (that’s if I don’t drink it all by then!)

      Lots of love to you 😀 xxxxx

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      1. Lottie, as mentioned: cherries and then then the other two are blueberries and, Israeli melon. Those are the top three but I also really like water melon, bananas, grapes, Italian prunes and, strawberries. I must be careful with the fruits that have lots of acid since that will send the GERD that I’ve had for many years into overdrive. I can take Nexum for that though and be ok if I take before I eat those things. You can learn about GERD by going to Google. 🙂

        Wish that I could make my own brandy as you do but alas alcohol, salt, any type of sugar and, any form of tea or coffee is a no-no with the afib.

        ~yvonne xxxx

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      2. Blueberries and melon, ME TOO! and strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, red currants, white currants and black currants. DAMN the afib, I’d love to share a glass (or two or much more) of my cherry brandy round the fire here and chat about life with you. I’ve got some great tea – IK has sent me some special chai from CA – it’s so good, I’m sure there’s a ‘special’ ingredient in it!

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      3. Oh my, the chai tea. Loved, loved that tea and now can’t drink that either for it all has black tea in the indgedients. Black tea, green tea- it matters not. Oh well Lottie, It could be worse. At least I have a healthy appetite for my happy little body and I can at least buy what I eat.I’m grateful.

        Yes, It would be one of the grandest things in the world to sit by the fire and sip brandy and talk about life and all the things that we have in common and more. 🙂 But my imagination will have to suffice.

        ~yvonne xxxx

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  7. Hi Lottie 😀 Cherries are also everywhere here for sale beside the road. Once the fairies have finished I suppose they go home to Torremolinos 😉 lol Ralph xox ❤

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    1. I’ve just squirted a mouthful of Rose Rioja over my laptop screen reading your comment….thanks, Ralph. Now i need to find a tea towel and wipe it off…..

      I’ve still not been to Torremolinos and I have no desire too – you wretch for saying that the fairies go there…don’t go and spoil my fantasy!

      I hope that you’ve been gorging on cherries too? You do know that they are fantastically good for you especially when steeped in a ton of brandy xxxxx

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      1. Oh dear ! What a waste of good wine ! Put it on my bill said the pelican ! Sorry for spoiling your fantasy Lottie. Try Leprechauns in Speedos next time 😯 I have had cherry brandy without the cherries. Does that work ? xox

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      2. No Ralph, the thought of leprechauns in budgie smugglers is taking things to a whole new level. Scrub the cherry brandy, I’m beginning to think that I may need something stronger! Xxx

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      3. You too! I’m now in my pit. Visions of terrified fairies in Torremolunos and budgie smuggler clad leprechauns – I can feel a nightmare coming on. Thank goodness for Colin Snout by my side to protect me XXXOO

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  8. Yes, I love cherries too. I managed to have some before I left Spain, but the price thing is true. Here they are very expensive. Good of you to stop after half and hour! I’m not sure I would have managed!

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    1. I feel very bad that I’d not discovered this poem before. I love it too! When I was living and working in London, I used to love to buy cherries off the fruit stalls just outside Holborn station. I would buy 1lb (just under half a kilo) and by the time I’d got to work, I’d eaten the lot (cherry stones all along the pavements) Nothing compares to the cherries here! They are THE BEST! Thanks as always for your comments, Olga. Great to hear from you 😀

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  9. Harumph. This has not appeared in my reader but luckily I had an e mail tip off from WP. Mrs. Has is a huge cherry fan. You could sell your cherries in HK – we get them from the USA but Mrs. Ha isn’t keen. She likes the Tasmanian ones but they are out of season. All this on your doorstep and hooch in the making. What more could a girl want? Does Colin like cherries? I’m not sure Lulu has tried them. My favourite fruit is mango – from Pakistan. Scrummy. What is the next harvest after cherries, Lottie?

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    1. Colin loves cherries but I’m worried that he’s going to crack his teeth on the stones and incur HUGE veterinary bills! He’s found a tree in the village where the boughs are low enough that he can pick his own 🙂

      I love mango too, it’s one of the things that I miss most about Indonesia, we had them growing in our garden in Bali. They were so sweet and tasted like honey.

      I think that’s it for the main harvests now, next up is the olives at the end of November. But we’ve got pomegranates, apricots, peaches and lots of tomatoes and peppers to look forward to and of course almonds, plenty of almonds 😀

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  10. Cerezas– now I remember that is the proper Spanish name for cherries. I live in an area of Washington state where cherries are a fantastic cash crop, Bings and Rainiers, mostly. Agricultural laborers are usually Mexican migrants who have lapsed into Spanglish: “Cheris”, i.e. they have taken a loanword from English instead of using the formal Spanish.

    Andulcia, ah. I studied guitar so of course the region has special meaning to me.

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    1. How very lovely to hear from you and thanks for leaving a comment. I’m passionate about Spanish classical guitar music and so was gutted that at the recent fiesta’s they only played disco tunes! I was so hoping that there would be some guitar music played and some flamenco. I’m not sure what type of ‘Cheris’ are grown here but they are very delicious.

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  11. I wonder how they stop the birds (or wasps) from eating the cherries on the trees? Our seem to all get spoiled 😦

    The trees look wonderful with the scarlet cherries on them – good luck with the cherry brandy 🙂

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    1. Ah, the reason that they don’t get spoiled is because for the last month there has been a very loud bird-scarer going off every 5 minutes, all day, every day!! and yes the noise is terrible but you get used to it. At first I couldn’t work out what the hideous loud banging sound was but then I realised. Colin was a nervous wreck and I thought that I was going to go mad. We got used to it soon enough and now it’s only on a few hours a day. Wasps haven’t been a problem so far. And as far as I’m aware, there cherries haven’t been sprayed with anything so they are organic. I can’t wait for the cherry brandy, Marianne 😀

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  12. Awesome title for a post. I’ve always thought cherries are special. And they’re so beautiful! No wonder the fairies like them so much.

    It must be quite amazing to be surrounded by such an incredible assortment of food. Good for you!

    Thoroughly enjoyable read and beautiful photos, as always, Lottie. My fav photo is the one of your jars full of beautiful cherries (and beautiful brandy). Yum. Thank you so much for including your Cherry Brandy recipe. And the poem is perfect! xoxo

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    1. You know that I love fairies – finding the poem gave me a perfect excuse to use them in the title. I think the fairies will have red stained fingers now with all the picking that’s being going on and probably quite big tummies too 😉 and rosy cheeks. I hope the cherry brandy is a success, it’s already turning a beautiful, deep shade of crimson. I shall fill some tiny acorn goblets for the fairies and see what they make of it….hic 😉 xoxo

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  13. I’ve only cottoned on to the fresh cherry thing in the last few years – I grew up only really knowing of the crystallised variety used in baking, which I wasn’t a fan of. Those fresh, plump suckers though… yum! How amazing (not to mention photogenic) to have them on your doorstep in abundance, and while I’m not generally a fan of dark spirits, I’d definitely give your infused concoction a go. Look forward to your tasting notes in due course :D.

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