Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Pear Ice Cream

Years ago when I was in the south of France on a camping holiday, I went to a cafe in the town of Cavalaire. Apropos of nothing but a chance to name drop, my caravan was next door to a very young Patsy Kensit and her pals. I reckon that’s where she got her taste for Scots men, but that’s a whole other blog.
One of the things I noticed while I was en vacances was that the fruit was bigger, more colourful and much tastier than anything we got at home. The pears in particular were amazing. And as I am often heard to say, you cannae beat a nice juicy pear. This particular cafe in Cavalaire specialised in ice cream. My pals chose while I studied the menu. One of the English girls in our company asked for a crepe. Stunned silence. She was too nice to be using that kind of language (too nice by far, if you catch my drift). With her southern accent it sounded like she was asking for a crap.
Eventually I chose pear ice cream and a few minutes later a very large glass container arrived holding a light green, glassy concoction that had me slathering like David Cameron over Labour’s latest fuckup (get over it, Davie-boy. You’ll never get the job). The pear ice cream came with a jug of water. Pourquoi l’eau, I asked in my best French. The waiter stared at me as if I’d asked for a crap. I was brilliant at asking for “trois coca” or “trois orangina”. I also had no small talent for asking for “du sel” for “les pommes frites”. Not so good at anything else. The waiter’s expression went through some changes before he considered that I just was one of those dumb Britishers who didn’t bother to learn god’s own language. Eventually pity won over scorn and he explained that the water should be used to refresh the mouth, because the flavour was so rich.
Aye right, I thought. Bring it on. There was a serious amount of ice cream here and I attacked it with gusto. I almost hesitate to use the metaphor – like the beautician faced with Susan Boyle’s eyebrows. The spoon from glass to mouth was a blur. Each spoonful was distilled, melting heaven. Ice cream as art. Then disaster. I noticed that my taste buds were becoming less responsive. The flavours were fading and I was less than a third of the way through. My gob was indeed in need of a rest.
I had a sip of water. My tongue was refreshed and - aaaaaaaah -once again able to cope with one of man’s best attempts at working with nature’s bounty. The next few spoonfuls were glassy green nectar. Chilled ambrosia. Then it was time for another sip of water before once again I lost the ability to fully appreciate the flavour.
This is a long-winded (but fascinating nonetheless as I’m sure you will agree) follow up to my blog on the reading marathon I embarked on at the weekend. If perfection is dished up to you as a constant, your ability to fully take in the achievement becomes tempered. Excellence becomes mundane and I’m too young at just over 21 to be jaded. Who’s that laughing in the corner? In essence it is time for a break from the reading. Besides, I don’t think ‘I haven’t finished my book yet,’ is an acceptable reason to pull a sicky. Nor would the boss believe I had a weekend break in Cancun and as a consequence required bed rest and the gentle ministrations of a student nurse.
...give me a moment to think that one through...
In any case, I’m half-way through Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Angel’s Game and my mind needs a wee rest from Barcelona and the machinations of Carlos’ quirky, wonderful characters. This is one of those occasions, just like the pear ice cream when quality should be taken in delicious spoonfuls, not in a binge.
As for Patsy and her pals...je suis un gentilhomme. And as everyone knows they don’t tell tales. Unless of course, suitable motivation is provided.


  1. you are so making me hungry!!!!!!!!!!! pear ice cream sounds scrumptious. I will try your savoring suggestion of intermittent sips of water.

  2. Thea, the photo came from the Times Online - and it came along with a recipe!