Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Marmande Tomato

There is a lovely story about the heritage beefsteak Marmande tomato which takes its name from the town of Marmande. Once upon a time, Peyrot Bory, an impoverished young man fell in love with Ferline Giraudeau, the daughter of a wealthy middle class man in Marmande. Peyrot dared not tell her of his love as he was conscious of being too poor to aspire to her hand so, filled with grief, he decided to leave Marmande. He arrived in Bordeaux just when a ship was setting sail to "the Isles".

For four years he travelled, throughout the Caribbean and New Granada. He worked hard and yet he could not forget Ferline. Eventually he returned to Marmande and in his luggage was a large leather bag filled with Spanish doubloons and a pouch in which lay strange dark grey flower seeds. He planted them in a sunny corner of his garden and in early summer clusters of beautiful red fruits appeared. Each morning, he picked a few and placed them in a little wicker basket on the window ledge of his beloved. After a few days Ferline saw him placing his offering:
"Tell me, friend," she said, “What do you call this delicious fruit that you bring every day?"

"When I was in the Americas, the Indians called this fruit the tomato, but I call it Ferline in remembrance of you, as it is so beautiful!"
he replied.

"Well," she said, throwing herself into his arms, “from today, we will call it "the apple of love, Pomme d'amour".

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