Since I was a little boy, I have loved rhubarb in the simplest of its cooking forms: compote. There was nothing fancy about it, stewed with a bit of sugar and served for breakfast, in a big old clay bowl that would make the food safety authority scream a loud and demented “J’accuse”. Sometimes, “His Highness” like my father called me, as I was a fussy little fecker, got served some rhubarb jam instead, in a jar, from the shop! Maybe she didn’t read the label? Maybe the beautiful rhizomes weren’t in season? With a disappointed pout and an exaggerated lift of the left eyebrow, I would push the jam jar away from me, in protest, with the tips of my fingers, before being clipped behind the ears by my father’s.
I often make that dessert from scratch and with pears. The chocolate is a personal favourite addition, but can be left out. As the rhubarb season is showing its pretty face, you know that we are almost out of the woods… Bees are starting to gather pollen from Willow trees and Sand Martins, the first of the “swallows”, should be here any time now. So I felt like celebrating.