Is it only in Paris along the Seine in early autumn, a few hours before your longtime boyfriend proposes to you on Pont Neuf, that an apricot tart can be truly enjoyed? The glistening golden half globes with a thin veneer of syrup, that very first bite a juicy explosion in your mouth. The buttery, perfectly crumbly crust with a hint of salt to offset the sweetness of the fruit. The rich creamy custard that marries fruit to crumb, the glue that keeps the two elements united as one.
Is it only at the height of mango season in the Philippines that one can truly savor the fruit, as a child who goes for a swim in the ocean in the rain, carrying a mango tucked under her shirt, hanging on to the side of a boat before biting into the thin skin and slurping down the smooth flesh, juice running down her chin, salt from the ocean offsetting the impossible sweetness? It is only in the Philippines that a mango is a mango as I know it. Nothing you find in American stores comes even close, from the banal supermarkets to overpriced gourmet ghetto shops at Ferry Building, those sad imported mangoes from Mexico devoid of the floral smell and true taste, its essential mango-ness lost in translation.
But here in America local stone fruits are now coming into season that rival apricots in Paris or mangoes in Alaminos, Philippines. This morning for breakfast I had currant pumpernickel bread from Acme, a ripe soft cheese from Cowgirl Creamery called Mt. Tam, and the most melt in your mouth sweet miniature white peaches. A perfect way to begin my morning in the cubicle world.