When the fields of dazzling white flowers fade to let all shades of red peek out among the green leaves, it means cherry season in Provence is underway. The Provence cherry is the star of the end of spring in the plains of the Comtat Venaissin in the Luberon!
The array of cherry varieties
Those who know cherries will tell you that you taste cherries as you would an excellent wine, or rather all kinds of cherries: the Burlat (the one we have a little preference for), Summit, Belgian, Van, Hedelfingen Giant, Folfer, which are the 6 varieties of the Coteaux du Ventoux PGI, alongside which we find the Folker, Régina, Fermina, Skeena, Sweet Heart, Regina… A host of varieties that join the stalls of your markets. But do you know how to recognise them the first time you see them? The bets are made.
The cherry is red gold with unique quality that the producers in the Vaucluse decided to protect from 1978 with the Cerise des Monts de Venasque appellation, then the Chérise, the first trademark registered in 1997, and most recently by creating the Coteaux du Ventoux PGI in 2019. It means recognising expertise and protecting a production terroir. This appellation is therefore a gauge of quality unanimously recognised today!
Did you know?
The Vaucluse is the leading cherry producer in France, with 4,000 hectares of cherry trees and a harvest of almost 20,000 tons/year.
And in all sorts of ways…
The dedicated festivals in Venasque (4 June) and Malemort-du-Comtat (25 June) are a must to enjoy cherries and the many ways they are used. We love just seeing them on the market stalls and can’t resist enjoying a cherry juice, as glacé cherries, jams and other sweet treats. You can also go to pick them yourselves! That’s right (remember that the farmer must always give you permission to pick them and to be careful with the cherry tree).
Go to the Domaine des Touchines in Saint-Didier for regular cherry-picking sessions during the season.
Cherry on the cake: a recipe!
We couldn’t finish this article about cherries without giving you a recipe for an emblematic cake: clafoutis
It’s a simple and tasty dessert you can enjoy whenever you like! (thank you to the foodies at Luberon Pays d’Apt tourism)
30 g butter
100 g sugar
1 pinch salt
110 g flour
200 ml milk
750 g cherries
icing sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180 °C (Th.6)
Melt 15 g of butter
Brush a cake tin with melted butter
Beat the eggs with the sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Sieve in the flour, mix, add the milk to thin the mixture well to make an even batter.
Arrange the cherries (without removing the stones) in the cake tin. Pour the mixture over them, sprinkle icing sugar over it and add the rest of the butter in small pieces.
Bake for about 45 minutes.
Did you know?
The Maison du fruit confit in Apt produces 6,500 tonnes of glacé cherries each year!