Growing season is in full swing, and yesterday I purchased a bunch of fresh fruit: peaches, plums, watermelon, and a favorite of mine, Rainier cherries. Since cherry is a common descriptor of red wine, I’m interested in getting better aquatinted with this tasty fruit. Sure, I’ve eaten cherries all my life, but yesterday I wondered whether or not I’d ever really tasted them. Probably not, I decided, so now my goal is to slow down and take time to truly taste the foods I’m eating.
Popping a cherry in my mouth, I bite down to split open the fruit and remove the seed. The fleshy pulp crunches as I chew, and a refreshing sweetness floods my tastebuds. The combination of tart and sweet is irresistible, and before I know what’s happened, I’ve swallowed the cherry.
So I try another. This time I split the cherry in half, then smell the pulp inside. To my nose, it smells slightly sweet but mostly like wet grass. I’ve heard that 90% of taste is also about smell, yet as I place the fruit in my mouth, I’m still a little surprised not to taste grass. Instead, the cherry comes alive with juicy sweetness, and the acid makes my mouth water. After I swallow, a pleasant tanginess lingers in my mouth. I keep eating cherries until I’ve finished a hand full.
After today’s cherry tasting experiment, I have a better understanding of the sensory experience of cherries. But I’m sure each variety has its own subtle flavor profile. There are wild cherries, choke cherries, sour cherries, and even black cherries. Also, when using descriptors for wine, I’d like to know the difference between fresh and processed cherries, like cherry jam, candied cherries, even baked cherry pie. This could get interesting . . . and tasty!