The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

Posted by on in Food & Drink

Travelling apricots


Lou Messugos 1st apricotsIt's apricot season and I'm in heaven.  Juicy, soft apricots bursting with Mediterranean warmth and flavour are all around and this year we had our own first crop. Twenty-six fruits to be precise but out of little things big things grow, and you've got to start somewhere.  We only planted the tree last year

For me apricots have always conjured up "land of milk and honey" images; paradisical lands overflowing with almonds, dates and pomegranates along side the apricots.  More North African and Middle Eastern Med than European Med.  I associate them with the delicious cuisines of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon so I'm delighted to find they grow so well in my back yard.

Apricots are one of those fruits that don't seem to travel well; they are almost consistently disappointing when bought in England.  Picked too early and shipped from warmer climes they are usually rock hard, floury and flavourless.  Whereas here they are soft, juicy and packed with flavour.  A ripe apricot is one of the best fruits ever and being small they are just so easy to pig out on.

abricots marchéI think my Aussie mum became a victim of the disappointing apricot once settled in England as she said to me a couple of years ago that she'd barely had a good one outside Australia.  I was determined to bring Apricot Joy back into her life so I decided to send her some of the very best I'd tasted, from a local organic producer in Cagnes sur Mer.  I remember my aunt in tropical north Queensland used to send a box of home-grown mangoes to my Gran in Sydney every year so it seemed like an entirely reasonable thing to do.

So, when I send a parcel abroad I usually fore-go the expensive pre-paid boxes, using good old-fashioned brown paper.  But this time I reckoned the rigid packaging and the the official size of the box would help get my precious cargo to its destination quickly and without un-necessary delay.  I'd carefully chosen each fruit to be fully ripe in 3-4 days' time and then individually wrapped them in kitchen paper, padded the box with bubble wrap, written the address in my best and clearest writing and sent it off without another thought.  As it was a surprise for my mum I hadn't mentioned anything though when I hadn't Lou Messugos 1st jamheard from her after 6 days I thought something must be up as it wasn't like her not to thank.  I also thought that if they hadn't turned up already and arrived in a day or two she might wonder why I'd sent her a box of rotting fruit.  Needless to say she hadn't received anything.  That was in June.  In October, months after giving up hope, the parcel arrived - heaving, liquid and highly alcoholic!  It had been via Argentina.  "Argentine" not "Angleterre"!  I've never sent fresh fruit through the post again; my mum just has to visit in apricot season.

And now I make jam to conserve the flavour of the gods.

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Comments

  • Guest
    Rin Friday, 14 September 2012

    Brings back memories of family holiday in South of France when we were entrusted with enough francs to walk the mile to the boulangerie and get the baguettes and croissants for breakfast. Those that made it back to the table (and were not eaten on route) were consumed with lashings of apricot jam!

  • Guest
    Drahcir Samoht Wednesday, 05 September 2012

    I love apricot jam - the best - especially no doubt Phoebe's, which may - you never know - be even better than Bonne Maman's

  • Guest
    Catherine Wednesday, 05 September 2012

    I do remember those apricots that came with apologies via Argentina. This year I will be with phoebe at Lou messugo to try some luscious fruit and the jam. Is this a first Phoebe?

  • Guest
    Phoebe Wednesday, 05 September 2012

    yes, it's my 1st ever jam!

  • Guest
    Rachel S. Friday, 27 July 2012

    Hooray for apricot jam! I'd never liked it until we made some with our own fresh, home-grown apricots, and you're right: the flavor is divine!

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Guest Tuesday, 19 September 2017

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