We came out of the bank yesterday and there on the corner, much to our delight, was the first sign of summer - the cherry man! Every year at the beginning of December he sets up shop on the sidewalk with nothing more than a wooden cart, a scale hung on a tree, and some plastic bags. He piles the fruit into a red mountain that is sure to catch the eye of every passerby and that's it; open for business in San Rafael.
Cherries bring back memories of another summer, of meals eaten in a small Hungarian restaurant in Toronto, where cold cherry soup was served as an appetizer. The flavour was sour and sweet, and the cherries were unpitted, creating a tasty, slow introduction to dinner. I re-created the soup today, with half a kilo of cherries, rose wine, creme fraiche, sugar and some lemon juice to add a bit of tartness. The cherries,(which I took the time to pit) wine and sugar were boiled and then blended with the cream to a smooth consistency, with a few cherry halves reserved intact and added back to float in the broth. A few hours in the fridge to chill, and that unforgettable summer of '74 soup was served right here, al fresco, in Argentina.
We paired the cold cherry soup with Los Haroldos Malbec Rose 2008, a light summery wine with hints of raspberry, melon and citrus. (This wine also went into the making of the soup.) The bodega's website gives an overview of a large operation that cultivates grapes on 3,000 hectares of land in Mendoza. Haroldos Malbec Rose sells for 13.50 pesos at Vea supermarket. Cherries cost 13 pesos per kilo, but it's still early in the season and this price will definitely go down once the cherry man is faced with competition on other street corners.