At belatrova we started turning our thoughts to Autumn, what with the leaves beginning to turn and that scent of damp and smoke that permeates the countryside near the workshop. We also discovered a taste for perry – surprising given that we seem (from the blog) to be serious cocktail sippers rather than quaffers of fermented fruit juices. We told you how to make the perfect Dry Martini some time ago. Perry is very much an Autumnal drink, and we visited a local small holding to see how it is made.
Has this anything to do with ceramics or table making? Probably not. The Blakeney Red is a greenish yellow perry pear with a red flush on the sunny side, an old favourite which was even considered a desert pear in the 1600s. which could also be stewed and used to dye soldiers’ khaki uniforms. This popular pear is renowned for perry making and is considered one of the best single perry varieties. The perry we tried was made from this pear.
How does this link in to ceramics, I hear you ask? Well, perry pears had their heyday in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and it is thought that there are at least 120 Perry pear varieties, many so local that they were only ever propagated on 1 or 2 adjacent farms. The heritage of these pears leaves us with some fantastic variety names, including Dead Boy, Mumblehead and Merrylegs. Some cider apple names? Brown Snout, Foxwhelp, Tremlett, Slack-ma-Girdle.
So far we have found no obvious links to ceramics and pottery, however, Stinking Bishop perry pear is local and used by Charles Martel, cheese maker supreme and reviver of Single Gloucester, whose washed-rind cheeses are immersed in the perry for 4 weeks while it matures. It is made from milk of Gloucester cattle, and became famous when it starred in “Wallace & Gromit: the Curse of the Were-Rabbit“. Here is a picture of late Autumn lillies to wave away the scent of cheese:
Throughout Herefordshire there is a strong tradition of farm cider-making. Farmers produced cider to be drunk by the farm labour force during the following year, especially the busy times of hay-making and harvest. Farmers used to sell cider to local pubs and cider merchants for re-sale in towns. By the way, perry pear trees take much longer to mature than cider apple trees, thus:
“Who sets an apple tree may live to see it end,
Who sets a pear tree may set it for a friend.”
Like the pear tree, belatrova has also paced its maturity to get to the stage we are now at. So if there is a seasonal change in the air, belatrova too reflects this. We have added two new categories to our website which we would love you to visit – just click on either: Fruit bowls and serving dishes and Ceramic art. Enjoy the visual sipping, get merry on home decor ideas, refresh your taste buds.