I thought it was time for a gripe, and here’s one I’ve been storing up. Stone fruit in NZ. Making the nectarine tart the other day reminded me. Even if, okay, the nectarines from the supermarket that day were ripe. And even though Lawrence did bring some decent peaches from Hawke’s Bay a couple of weeks ago. But these are the exceptions, not the norm. The norm is fruit that looks fine, but is so disappointing. Rock-hard, tasteless, a waste of money really. I sometimes think that we get to buy, lucky us, last season’s produce, fruit that has been kept in cool store for almost 12 months. Probably not, but it baffles me that it’s so difficult to find tree-ripened fruit in NZ in the summer. The country’s not that big, after all; it should be possible to get fruit from orchard to shop without major problems. Whereas by contrast, ah, by contrast … time for a memory … almost 4 years ago we stayed in a charming village in France, Minerve, a former Cathar stronghold, only reachable by a single lane stone bridge … so charming that we stayed an extra night. And there, for breakfast one morning in the restaurant, looking down into a dry riverbed, at white-linen-dressed tables, we were presented with a solitary glowing peach, sitting on white china, smelling of summer. And when you bit into it, the juices ran down your chin. The way it ought to be.