Good Eatin’: The Search For Rainier Cherries

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

This post details my hunting for the Rainier cherry. A few weeks previous to this I saw a punnet of these cherries in a nearby Waitrose and I chose not to buy them since I figured paying a lot for these cherries was bit much. I later thought better of this and went back and the last punnet was gone. What occurred was my last, and successful, search for Rainier cherries, which became food item #150.

Food Item: Gruyère

The day started out like a nice Sunday does, brunch with my mum and my partner. My mum had a voucher for 2-for-1 breakfast at the local Café Rouge so it was a good start to the day with some good conversation. Whilst they both had a full English I opted for the Croque Madame since I didn’t exactly fancy a lot of grease… and I am also a real sucker for the nuttiness of Gruyère cheese.

So we went to went down the road to the Waitrose and I inspected the cherry section to find that… no cherries. They weren’t even advertising them anymore. Before I felt too deflated I remembered that I previously saw them in Marks & Spencer but they were charging £8 (what!?) for a punnet. Whilst I said no in the hope of a cheaper (and smaller) punnet from Waitrose I knew that this was one of the final weeks that these cherries would be around (to put this in context I am writing about an incident in mid-July). So yea… I asked my mum if she fancied going halves with me and she agreed (yes!)

Food Item: Charentais Melon

So, we get to Marks & Spencer and they have a BIG sign in the cherry bit advertising their new yellow cherries but… they had run out. I was dejected. I felt that I had waited too long to get them and now I would probably have to wait another year before getting the chance again (even then it’s no guarantee I would see them again since I can’t imagine them being as at the price and their general unripe look). So… and I sound right pathetic here don’t I… my mum asked one of the shop assistants about if they had any. To their credit they phoned the back and went off to investigate.

Whilst I waited (my mum went of to get… something) I wandered around the fruit section and noticed a blog melon. The Charentais melon, a variety of cantaloupe from Western France (although this one was grown in Spain). All I can say was that it was incredibly fragrant with the rind of the sealed melon smelling of mango. Inside it was pinky orange and very sweet. I have never been a fan of melon… but with this and watermelon I think I might be developing a taste.

Anyway, I picked up my melon in the store and my mum came back with… I want to say chocolate… and the very lovely and helpful shop assistant came back with…

Food Item: Rainier Cherry

Finally!

I know it’s extravagant but I figured that I would probably never buy these again since cherries are always expensive and I am more of a citrus person when it comes to snack fruit. I offered a lot of “thank yous” to the shop assistant and might have stared at them a bit too long. Yellow cherries. An experiment to go back to one of the original sweet cherries which got hybridized out by nature. My inner foodie and science geek squealed in unison as I held these and got ready to take them home (in between sniffs of the melon, seriously if you see me in a supermarket it may look like I am drunk or on drugs but that its just how I am around lots of food).

The most noticeable thing about these cherries upon eating them is the very thin skin; far thinner than a regular cherry. This allows for a pleasing apple-like crunch as you bite into the cherry and get that immediate burst of sweetness. In terms of flavour it is a mix between a regular cherry and a nectarine. The flavour even changed within the cherry depending on if you bit into the yellow side or the red side, very odd. The best thing is that there was no sour cherry roulette as you get with regular cherries as these are all deliciously sweet. Just a pity they are SO seasonal and SO expensive. Still, fingers-crossed that the Rainer trees in England will soon be able to provide local cherries and drive the prices down.

And that kids, is how Rainier cherries became food item number 150.

Progress: 150/500

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