Cherries: Which Variety to Choose?

Four large families of cherries are consumed in France. And for each of them, the use differs!

French businesses sell four major types of cherries. But beware, we do not choose the same variety to make jam or clafoutis.

The bigarreaux, the most cultivated

80% of cherries harvested in France belong to the family of bigarreaux . They dominate the market thanks to the resistance of their skin and the “sweetness” of their flesh. We eat them naturally or we can combine them with a multitude of recipes such as cherry pie or clafoutis.

The guignes, a soft and sweet flesh

The softness of the flesh of the cherries guignes destines rather to the elaboration of jams or compotes. You can also add a sweet and savoury touch to a dish by using them to make a sauce with poultry or game, for example

True cherries, an example of acidic varieties

Kirsch, an alcoholic drink made from cherries
Kirsch, an alcoholic drink made from cherries. (© Christian Jung –

If the bigarreaux and the guignes are varieties classified as sweet, the true cherries are qualified of acids. They are used most of the time as a base for brandy. The merise, for example, used to make the kirsch or cherry. In this case, it is necessary to favour fruits still a little green so that they keep their firmness during the maceration.

The cherries, the latest

Cherries in syrup, one of the French sins ..
Cherries in syrup, one of the French sins … (© Food-micro –

They are found on the stalls from July. Well after the bigarreaux or the guignes. Morello cherries are mainly grown to make spirits or cherries in syrup. Their acid flesh produces a clear or dark juice depending on the variety.

Our recipe idea: poached cherries with tarragon, creamy white chocolate

Poached cherries with tarragon, creamy white chocolate.
Poached cherries with tarragon, creamy white chocolate. (© Philippe Dufour / Interfel)

For 4 people: 200 g of unpitted cherries, 200 g of white chocolate, 30 cl of Full Fat cream, 100 g of caster sugar, 1 bunch of tarragon and 1 litre of spring water.

In a very cold salad bowl, whip the whole liquid cream until firm mousse is obtained. Melt the white chocolate at 34 ° C and then add it to the whipped cream. Make quenelles and reserve at room temperature.

In a saucepan, heat the liter of water with the sugar. At the first boil, arrange the tarragon bale in the water. Keep some tarragon leaves for dessert finishing. When boiling, add the cherries to the mixture. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with food film. Let cool.

In dessert cups, fry the cherries in their cooking juices. When serving, place a chocolate creamy dumplings over the cherries and sprinkle with a few tarragon leaves.

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