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Cherries, introduced from Anatolia, have been grown in France since the Middle Ages. Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes Côte-d'Azur are the biggest producers.

The wild cherry tree, the merisier (Prunus avium), is also known as cerise des oiseaux, cerise sauvage or cerise des bois. Its tiny cherries, which aren’t very sweet and hard to pit, are sometimes used in brandy.

The common French sweet cherries are bigarreaux. Because the other main sweet variety, guignes, which are softer and quite delicious, do not travel well they tend to be used in jams.

The other main type, the sour cherry, is descended from the griottier and is more resistant to the cold. They are often used in brandies, jams, desserts, juices and syrups.

Common Bigarreaux varieties in France

Burlat: or Early Burlat (Hatif Burlat) sweet, dark red, shiny. One of the most common.

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Fruit and nuts

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by Fabricio Cardenas, longos, Pol at French Wikipedia