During the First World War, Léonard Burlat, a farmer and aborist from Loire-sur-Rhône, was mobilised in Lyon. In the relatively undeveloped Gerland district, he stumbled upon a cherry tree with the most beautiful leaves.
He took a few shield buds and grafted them on to his own trees. The result exceeded his wildest dreams:
bright red, glossy bigarreau cherries that were sweet and juicy, large and fleshy… that also travelled well. Thus the “Hâtif Burlat” was born. Mr Burlat propagated his trees widely both locally and regionally, and several years later this fruit was officially recognised as the definitive French cherry.