There we were yesterday, walking into a supermarket in Gourdon, our small shopping list in hand, when we were stopped dead by a large yellow poster in the window. Strawberries! Gariguettes! From France!
In other words, folks, the first home-grown strawberries of the season.
Here’s how another website describes these beauties: “They are small, soft and aromatic, reminiscent of wild strawberries. They taste simply fantastic. … Gariguettes are grown in the area between Carpentras, Avignon and Cavaillon, mostly under plastic tunnels to ripen early.”
So my wife Jan bought two containers of them, vowing to make a strawberry tart (tarte aux fraises) for lunch today. And she did, with some help from yours truly. This morning she made the gluten-free dough, and got it into the refrigerator to chill, but then had to leave for a long walk with friend Samantha and her two children. That left me in charge. Yikes!
But I soldiered on, and managed to: (a) take the dough from the fridge; (b) roll it out; (c) place it in the pie dish; (d) and blind-bake it with dried beans, until the crust was golden. (This was all new to me, but I managed.) Then Jan came home and did the rest — making the crème pâtissière, cleaning and macerating the berries, and then assembling the tarte. And the result? Pretty gorgeous, and absolutely delicious. Here it is:
We each had a large slice of the tarte, after our modest Sunday lunch of roast leg of lamb, whipped potatoes with crème fraîche, and sweet-and-sour red cabbage, with a bottle of Spanish rioja.
Cycling note: Let the record show that, late in the afternoon, I had my first above-water bicycle ride of the year. I covered about 20 kilometres by biking to Castelnaud and back. (I say “above-water” because we do a lot of biking on submerged bicycles in the pool where we regularly exercise.) Very nice. Beautiful weather. Key wildlife sighting: A nice, plump pheasant hen was strolling along a ploughed field, just a few feet away from me. And I’m sure she was thinking: “Man! Am I glad that hunting season is over!”