The man with the basil

It was hot and sunny when I arrived in Antibes (typical summer weather in fact, nothing to be surprised about or even mention really), so I thought that an insalata caprese would be the ideal dinner. This is the well-known salad you have all had with tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil.

I got good mozzarella from a supermarket but wanted to go to the local fruit & veggies lady, who is Italian by the way, for the tomatoes and the basil. Usually one can find excellent basil plants in her shop.

Not so this time. While the tomatoes were stunningly red, smelt lovely and felt just right to the touch, the two or three basil plants that were left looked more than sad. They wouldn’t make any insalata caprese.

I tried another fruit & veggies nearby, but the basil there was even worse, just some dried stems that were offered to me for free. I politely declined though. I wasn’t that desperate. Those few dry leaves definitely wouldn’t make any insalata caprese.

Should I have to change dinner plans? No!! I decided to try a third fruit & veggies, a very small shop. “Can you come back tomorrow?”, the man asked. He hadn’t brought the plants in from his garden yet, but tomorrow they would be ready for sale. I explained my dinner problem. “I will help you out”, he said and left the shop. He returned with a huge bunch of the most beautiful fragrant basil which he had just cut in his garden. He asked 90 cents for it.

The little shop now has a new faithful customer.