This summer had been dry but olives have persisted. I brought to Paris a bottle of last year’s home-made olive oil, thick and green, just as it’s supposed to be. Late summer is also time to pick pomegranate fruit. There are a couple of pomegranate trees in our uncle’s garden just across the street. They’re usually not ripe enough in the beginning of August. Years ago, in September, already back in the capital, we used to wait for a package from the island with one or two ripe pomegranate fruits lying in the bottom of the opened box.
Before leaving the coastal region, a wise thing to do is to take some of the herbs and spices typical for the region and the climate. Our fence is made part of rosemary, part of laurel leaves – which is in some places mistakenly called javor instead of lovor (Croatian for maple and laurel). These small bushes of rosemary reward us with delicate little lilac flowers in August.
An old gnarled almond tree in the yard is a favourite of mine. Its big trunk rises high, holding a wide crown ending with the tiniest twigs. The leaves are falling down even during the calmest summer days, rustling as we step on them. Almonds are also harvested during late summer. You have to hit the branches with long bamboo sticks so that the nuts fall from the tree. The fruit is then left to dry for a couple of day in the sun, before the outer shell is cleaned and the almonds stored for winter months.
In the end, September isn’t that bad after all. There is as much beauty as there is melancholy in this season and we are to use it for the best. It’s time to end our Croatian story and go back to Paris, in both food and photography.
Farewell to the summer, or how the French would say, à l’année prochaine!