How Fragile We Are
Having moved across the pond, I forget how treacherous Spring can be in North-America. While I basked in what felt like the mildest, longest, drawn-out Spring I had in a while, I vaguely registered when my Mum mentioned the sudden April chill in Canada. Only now, in July, has the full implication of those words hit me: frost in Spring can spell disastrous harvests in July.
When in Montreal, peaches and apricots from Ontario are some of the many wonderful things I anticipate in July. While there are pockets in Quebec where peach and apricot trees can thrive, Ontario has a climate more conducive to the commercial production of large stone fruits. Those luscious fruits were always a high point of summer. Even more than strawberries and raspberries. I remember days at the cottage when I would gorge on peaches, nothing but peaches, and feel replenished.
However, as Nature is often wont to show, things don't always happen as expected. This year's harvest is small. Which makes it all the more precious. If you do get your hands on a basket of peaches, I hope you get to enjoy those first bites while basking in the sun.
If you can bear the thought of doing anything other than sit outside, in a bathing suit, while peach juice dribbles down your chin, try grilling them on the barbecue, or caramelising halves in a pan with a bit of butter. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you've got an easy, yet pretty dessert.
If you are vying for something with a bit more wow factor, grate a bit of nutmeg on top, or better yet, find some Tonka and grate that over the grilled peach and vanilla ice cream. Tonka beans were once used as a substitute for vanilla in industrial food productions, but it is a gorgeous spice in its own rights. It has vanilla-y notes, with hints of bitter almonds and nuts. It is perfect with peaches and other stone fruits.