A Royal Treat for a Simple Girl

BY SUSANA LOURENÇO . PORTUGAL . EUROPE

Green Queen Claudia Plums

Green Queen Claudia Plums.

The fruit of my childhood summer vacations. The one I longed to reach with my tiny arms, pluck and store on the empty belly of my straw hat.

It was always a steaming hot day. 40ºC probably. Dry and only bearable inside the darkness that silently cooled down the house. Despite that, I really wished to walk along the path that connected our home to this long necked tree resembling a giraffe, with a small treetop that slightly could hold the weight of its own precious cargo.

I would look up trying to read, among the lacy foliage and the sunbeams that pierced through, the round cherry size fruits that could be ripe. I would point them out to my mum and to the other tall persons of my family so they could pick them for me.

In a few minutes, I would hold in the palms of my hands this mild glaucous soft skin that encapsulated a very sweet fleshy pulp. I rushed till the closest water tap to wash them from the fine dust that kissed their cheeks and then delighted myself gulping down all its juicy sugariness.

Only years later, I discovered that this honeyed fruit that made me so happy in the backyard of our country modest home, was in fact named after a royal XVI century figure, Queen Claude of France, to whom a Renaissance naturalist dedicated this newcomer from the Orient, since it was good, sweet and delicate just like the wife of the French King Francis I.

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