Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I was astonished, in America, to taste these grapes. Because the last time, the only time, I had eaten them was as a little girl, in one garden in Bloemfontein, in Marquard Crescent, belonging to my parents' very good friends Hendrik and Jean van Heerden. Hendrik, an imposing and rather frightening man to a small child was Oom Hennie, even though he was a judge. And Jean was Auntie Jean. He grew tulips, and she bubbled with laughter. They are both gone now.
They had a massive grape arbour over their stone patio, looking out of the lush, quiet, robin-speckled lawn. The grapes were called Catawbas, and were musky in way I had not tasted before nor again until the late 90's, in New York. Their skins popped the grapes into your mouth in a wonderful way. Like Mrs Newton's mulberries, their ripening was an event in my life, and never forgotten.
Finding them native to this coast was a delight, and I still get over-excited when I see how many loose-skinned kinds we have here at late summer and fall farmers' markets. I adore them.