Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer food

I was brought up in a city called Leicester. One of its hidden treasure is what is probably the largest open-air market in Europe and being in the middle of an agricultural area, its crown jewel is its fresh produce.
Nothing like the packaged, homogenised food you get in supermarkets, here you'll get carrots with the dirt still on them, if you want it, still damp from the ground where they were resting until earlier that day. You'll get potatoes grown locally, but since the influx of Asians from Uganda in the early 1970's, you'll also get okra and other exotic produce. It's a gourmet's dream. And a bargain hunter's too.
And in the summer, you get strawberries, raspberries, cherries and apricots. Fragrant and fresh, strawberries with straw still sticking to them, from the beds they're grown on.
There is nothing in the world like a perfect strawberry, and I'd like to bet that many people who say strawberries aren't their favourite fruit have ever tasted one. Elusive and perfect, fragrant with a delicate scent that once sensed, will never be forgotten. Juice explodes on your tongue when you bite into it and your mouth is filled with such a special flavour, it's a travesty to try to primp it up with cream or sugar or anything else.
Those perfect moments come rarely in a life, but if you live near Leicester market, you've just increased your chances of having one.

1 comment:

Kim Smith said...

Love this post. I am in the US in the southern region and there is absolutely NOTHING better than going to the farmer's market and seeing and smelling and tasting all the fresh produce. and you are sooo right. a fresh strawberry is the pinnacle of deliciousness.