AUGUST 2000 - REFLECTIONS ON FRUIT IN
This newsletter contains some reflections about Fruit in
France, as we have spent the last 30 days (with 10 still to go) walking
400 kilometers from Nice to Geneva via the French Alps - known as the
Grand Traverse of the Alps.
Well what can we say about French fruit? We have had some
interesting experiences to share. Tucked away in a little remote village
in the alps of Provence we were staying at a little hotel which served
for dessert a tart garnished with a slice of Carambola - in our wonderful
french we asked to speak to the chef to find out where it had come from.
"Asia" he said - "It is an Asian fruit" - Yes but where did you get it?
- it turns out that it had come to France via Israel, and needless to
say the slice was tasteless, as we had been told by other Europeans who
had done our fruit tasting - just used for decoration.
Every village still has a baker, a butcher and a fruit shop.
In the fruit displays the price also has to show where the fruit comes
from -local or which country. so we have seen New Zealand apples for sale
in french villages and kiwi fruit, and bananas from Cameroun, but nothing
In one large supermarket town there was a sign over the
fruit and vege stand which said that any fruit which had been imported
had been sprayed with a long list of chemicals - listed there - enough
to put you off eating them.
There have been lots of vegetable gardens and orchards as
we have walked through the little villages, generally being tended by
older men and women, but so many that it will be something that we will
The first course of any french meal always seems to be a
salad of fresh greens etc, except in the alps where we have been getting
soup. In the alps we have been served virtually no fruit or vegetables
at the refuges where we have been staying - lots of potatoes and cheese
- and discovering where the fondue actually originated.
One of our great experiences has been walking in the fir
forests which have an understory wild raspberries and strawberries and
blueberries and being able to eat and browse as we walk. In australia
there is so little in the bush that you can eat. There are so many wild
blueberries that we have seen some people with buckets picking them.