Finding “Muriel"; the glory of black mulberry "foraging"


Whilst reflecting on two fussy meals served in silly locations where, to paraphrase Jay Rayner, a waiter ferrets on your lap I was asked to name the best thing I’d eaten in living memory and whilst the organic fist size figs of this week (Unicorn rocks!) jumped out of my food bank I settled on the surprise holiday delight of Muriers, which my kids still call Muriels because I misheard the French lady who explained why she was pulling black caterpillar resembling objects off the shade trees in the car park by the beach at Vias.
First a bit of a whinge about ‘faine’ dining in Manchester; it’s amazing and I’m really lucky to eat in decent places yet sometimes the basics [hardly existential] wind me up [a little].
No point….
…putting me in a booth where I can’t hear myself think because the DJ is ‘banging out’ tunes no matter how cool he [thinks he] looks with his silly screen; “show us yer Vinyl!”
…having said-same booths where the cushions are greasy and sweaty in the style of an Asian ‘entertainment emporium’ and slatted so that the shouty city boys drown out the DJ when they rock up after a hard day pretending to add value to our economy
…ordering chilled white wine if your full sleeve tattooed [faux]waiter sloshes half a gallon into you comedy oversized [warm] wine glass every time you take a sip but doesn’t bring you [overpriced] water
…having multiple sharing plates if they don’t bother taking them away so your table resembles the dishpig stations where I earned my corn as a youth.
…having the waiter crouch down and put his nose on the table to explain every process subjected to every ingredient if he can’t tell the difference between rosemary and thyme and gabble on about the qualities of sourdough which is denser than the densest sodabread.
…serving stuff on stupid plates or worse. I want white round smooth plates only, a bowl IF sauce will definitely spill over lip. End of.
…encouraging me to eat pointless mouth tickly leaves [I’m looking at you corn shoots and nasturtium leaves]

Back to France and the now mythical fruit; we’d just pulled into the beach car park and were loading ourselves up like Buckaroo[s] with spades buckets, bags, towels, snacks, drinks and some weird pop up Nivea sun tent which cannot be squeezed back in the bag after a glass of wine, when I spotted a lady pulling things off the trees. Immediately intrigued, as I thought them insects which I can’t stomach, I enquired in comedic pigeon idiot French what they might be. 
She gave each of us one and said “many vitamins” and we all experienced a flavour epiphany. A combination of deeply complex sweet aromas encompassing blackberries blueberries bubble gum with a sum greater than the parts we dropped all our stuff and started picking. This became a daily ritual with the children insisting we go to Muriel beach, preferring them over previously eulogised overused bribe/threat 
Ice-cream

and us being allowed to head for the beach [and on the return back to the car] only once our hands, faces & clothes were covered in sticky purple goo and we felt a bit sick. On my return a colleague identified them as black mulberries, due to the fruit length either the Pakistan or Reunion variety. Further investigation revealed them to be a miracle fruit, not only amazingly flavoured, also good for liver & kidneys i.e. heavy drinking, and so perfectly located in Languedoc wine producing region. The moral [twisting together a bunch of idioms]; although money doesnt grow on trees and can't buy you happiness, muriers do and can. Alternatively; your health is your wealth and these fruits are incredibly handy if you down too much shandy.

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Mediterranean, Lifestyle