Reine Claude Dorée plums are incredibly attractive with their green to golden skin, sometimes blushed with red. Quite firm on appearance, they prove juicy and syrupy once bitten into; The flesh is deep yellow and sugar laden, with just the right amount of acidity.
The Reine Claude Dorée is a French variety of plum dating back to the sixteenth century. It was later imported to Britain, and it is believed all local varieties of greengage can trace their origins back to the Reine Claude Dorée. What sets it apart is a truly fragrant, extra sweet flesh with just the right amount of tartness and an attractive green to golden, and even red skin.
Our Reine Claude are grown by Marc on his beautiful hilly orchards in Montauban, Midi-Pyrénées. The chalky clay soil, warm days and cool nights of that area provide the ideal environment for orchard fruits to thrive and develop their renowned flavour: he also grows Mirabelle plums, peaches, nectarines and apples.
All his produce is grown as naturally as possible, with the final goal of achieving the best flavour possible;
limiting the amount of fertilisers and pesticides, and using nets to protects the precious plums from birds.
Growing just the Dorée means a short season of only a few weeks. He picks his Reine Claude only when perfectly ripe, when they have developed their characteristic golden to red hues and honeyed, syrupy flesh. The last week of the fruit's ripening on the tree is absolutely critical, but it is also a period of great risk for the grower. If rain hits then Marc could lose the majority of the crop. The rain water collects in the dimple around the stalk and is then slowly absorbed, causing the fruit to almost inflate. Risking this takes a dedication to flavour and a commitment to only selling fruit that has been allowed to reach its absolute peak. It is to avoid this potential loss that most growers will harvest fruits early and under ripe.
All being well the fruit on the top of the tree is harvested first. It is the first to ripen as it is more exposed to the sun. This is quickly followed by the fruit on the inside of the tree. The Doréee can be refrigerated, but once picked the reality is that it is only around for a few, magical weeks.