It seems to be widely recognized, writes a pomological correspondent in California, that the peach, of all fruits, most closely approaches the quality of human flesh, eventually reaching that state expressively described by William Morris as ‘pinch-ripe’. No fruit is more laden with erotic metaphor. The pear is its nearest rival, but its cool, smooth skin cannot compare with the warm knap of a peach. The contrasting names of two varieties, Poire Cuisse-Madam and Pêche Téton de Vénus, express the difference. When the fruit-stealing episode which figures in the childhood section of so many autobiographies concerns peaches, the reference may be to ‘kissing’ rather than ‘stealing’ the fruit; and male fruit connoisseurs have written of ‘stroking’ peaches off the tree.