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It’s that time of year when everything in the garden and in the hedgerows grows like crazy and all of a sudden there’s elderflower, strawberries and cherries by the bucketload if you have the time to do something with them. The strawberry ice cream has gone down well and the cherries are now soaking in kirsch – home made this year – so that they will be ready for making into cherry liqueur chocolates similar to Mon Cheri in time for Christmas. Good job they are delicious as it’s a right faff.

The kirsch is a long story but briefly begins this time last year when we went over to a local farm, were lifted high up into the branches of a large cherry tree in a JCB bucket with a large bidon that was filled with cherries (bit tricky nonetheless). They are then left to ferment with nothing added and a few weeks ago the barrels were taken to the ‘alambic ambulant’ – the mobile still where the slop that it has become is distilled into a clear, strong alcohol. It takes a long time and apparantly involves quite a lot of tasting. The photo of the old alambic is from the Loire in 1910, but I can safely say that not a lot has changed since then, it all looks very similar today.

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