Our first cherry to have ripe fruit this year didn't have a single fruit last year. However, in the past week we have picked 15kg of fruit from it, which has gone into 6 two person clafoutis (a batter pudding studded with cherries), 4 jars of confiture (jam), 5 jars of gelée (jelly), 750ml sirop (syrup / cordial), 2 four person crumbles, a pie and 3 batches of pie filling, as well as those we ate fresh and gave away. Almost half the cherries went into making the thick dark syrup which is so useful for kir and refreshing summer soft drinks. The tree still has some fruit on it, but we can't get to it, so the merles (blackbirds) can have it.
It's not clear from the map of the orchard that we received from the previous owner what type of cherry this early bearing cherry is, but after reading an article recently, I suspect it may be a variety called la Burlat.
La Burlat is the earliest widely known cherry variety in France and opens the season of eating cherries, signaling the return of summer. It takes its name from Léonard Burlat, who grew the first one from seed. Bright red, heart-shaped, it is sweet and juicy with a texture not too squishy, not too firm.
One of the most popular bigarreaux is a variety called Napoleon. Not often seen at the market, it is widely grown in people's gardens. It can be recognised by its big yellow heart-shaped fruits, spotted with scarlet. It is generally left alone by the birds, who don't realise it is ripe. It's juice is colourless and flesh firm, with a strong skin giving a satisfying mouthfeel when you bite into one.