In August, my friend Gina and I took a long lunch hour to visit Alan’s roof garden. I had bent her ear about it all summer, and she, a gardener herself, was itching to see it. As we were walking from the subway, I called B, and he came along from work, too.
Alan showed Gina around, and Gina was dumbfounded and amazed (as are we all) at what Alan is able to grow on the roof of his apartment building. After she thanked him, and we were getting ready to go back to work, Alan asked us to wait a minute while he checked on the melons he was growing. Sure enough, he said, the Charentais was ready.
If you’ve never eaten a Charentais you will not believe me when I say it’s possible to get a little bit of a buzz off of a slice of melon, warm from the sun and melting and soft and sweet. You don’t see Charentais very often in the greenmarket because they are too delicate. And if you grow them yourself, you have to keep a close eye on how quickly they’re ripening, because if they remain on the vine a day or two too long, they simply expire and collapse in on themselves. That happened to Alan’s Charentais last year on the weekend he came to visit B and me in the country.
Charentais have an orange flesh like a cantaloupe, but that’s about all they have in common with a cantaloupe. We sat down, generous gentle Alan cut the melon into four wedges, and we all got a little tipsy on Charentais.
We followed the Charentais with a beautiful green-fleshed melon and then a gold watermelon. The pictures below are of Gina enjoying the watermelon. I can’t remember the names of those other two melons; they were delicious, don’t get me wrong, but all I can really hold onto is the taste of that Charentais.