In my official capacity as Bringer of Good News to the teeming thousands - nay, millions - of the world’s ever-eager shunters of trucks, I do hereby formally announce the arrival on this green and sceptr’d isle of....
...the doughnut peach.
As with everything else that goes on in this rapidly deteriorating organ I am (still) pleased to call my brain, there’s a kind of ‘back story’ (as my ex-colleagues on the news desks of BBC Radio Newcastle say) to this announcement. Yes, I’m afraid so; another turgid and tedious tale from the fevered keyboard of someone who should by now have found something better to do with his time.
Anyway, here goes...
As you probably know, I - like many millions of others - enjoy the occasional jaunt across the Channel ( - the French get really annoyed if you call it the ‘English’ Channel, and who can blame them?). It probably hasn’t escaped your attention either that the most frequent victims of this tendency of mine are Amsterdam (which God preserve) and Paris (ditto) - both of them historic and bustling capital cities which proffer experiences a lot more exotic and exciting than anything even Newcastle has up its sleeve.
One of the aforementioned exotic experiences is - wait for it - fruit and vegetables.
Let me explain.
Even on my very first visit to Amsterdam, I noticed, with some consternation - not to say indignation - that their fruit and veg were indisputably not the same as ours. And, before I go any further, I know what you’re thinking. For the love of all that’s sacred - surely, Ian, there must have been something a little more eye-catching to notice in Amsterdam than the quality or otherwise of their comestibles. Well, yes there was - but those things had to wait for my visit with Paul Wappat to truly come into their own.
But I digress. What I mean by their fruit and veg ‘not being the same as ours’ is that their grapes (for example) were not the same as our grapes; their grapes were sweeter, riper, juicier, fresher - and much, much bigger. They were the size of what we accept as plums. Well, nearly.
Their plums, in turn, were soft, succulent orbs of orgasmic flesh and syrup; they could star in their own porn movie. And so on, and so on...
Not only that. Our European cousins - who must be laughing their euro-cods off at the garbage we English are prepared to accept as good fruit and vegetables - also seemed to consume, in vast quantities, fruits which we either regard as dinner-party rarities that cost an arm and a leg (thus negating, to a large extent, the benefits of 5-a-day), like kumquats and lychees, or even to possess fruits of which normal people like you and me have never heard, like dragon fruit (about which I bored you to tears in a previous posting).
Well this unfortunate fructine jealousy has now extended to Paris, where I was lucky enough to spend a few swelteringly pleasant days recently. And it didn’t take me long to uncover their obvious fruit and veg superiority, either. My friend Dominique (a man rather than a singing nun) lives in central Paris and the streets surrounding his flat were chockablock with bistros, cafes, restaurants, shops and markets - a happy situation long since lost to all British cities, which we’ve allowed to be taken over by national and international ‘chains’, so that all our city centres look exactly the same.
Naturally, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Dominique’s inner-city heaven until...I discovered yet another fruit previously unknown to me. The doughnut peach.
As you can see, instead of being the usual peacherine shape, ie round like an apple (and, if bought in a British supermarket, just as hard) they are - well, doughnut shaped. It’s as if they’ve been squashed almost flat. Indeed, the French call them peches plats, ‘flat peaches’. The result is a furry, lumpy roundel of sumptuous deliciousness. The flesh is not as ‘giving’ as a conventional ripe peach (excellent though they are) but is, instead, a little more al dente. There’s something to bite.
(Wow - three languages in one blogposting. Not bad, huh?)
During my four-day stay in Paris, I ate 23 of them. I then bought six to bring home but had eaten them by the time the train entered the Tunnel. Yes, that’s how good they are.
If you’ve got this far, you’ll want to know what the point of all this is.
Well, as I announced so smugly at the start, they’re finally being imported into England. Naturally, if you see them on your local travels and buy a few on the strength of this blogposting, you’re going to be disappointed. We English will be offered - and will accept gratefully - the unripe, sour, rock-hard dregs from the doughnut peach barrel; and you’ll end up complaining bitterly that, in this case as in so many others, Ian Robinson is talking a load of old dingo’s kidneys.
But I’m not. If you want indisputable verification of all that I’ve said, sell a family heirloom and book a seat to Paris or somewhere similar. (Is there anywhere similar to Paris?) Find a local market and snaffle up a kilo or two of peches plats. Believe me, it’ll be worth it.
Of course, in the good old days of the Big Blue Bus, I could have said all this live on-air - and if I had, someone would have turned up before the programme ended with a couple of bucketfuls of them. Ah, happy days.
Anyway, if you see any for sale locally, inform me at once.
Thanks for your clerihews. You have proved that a sense of humour couples nicely with a concise poetic bent (as it were). Keep them coming.
...it's almost 0100 and I'm going to bed.
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