The cherry is small, red cherry indigenous to the area of the town of Schaerbeek, in the northwestern part of the region of Brussels. The Schaerbeek variety is related to the Mortmorency, of the Morello cultivar, and is of the Prunus cerasus species. This cherry has contains a large pit and has a bitter or very sour or acidic taste. When pressed, it produces a light colored juice. In Belgium, it is harvested towards the end of July or beginning of August. It is a wild cherry, and is not grafted. The griottes de Schaerbeek or Schaerbeek krieken (as they are known in French and Flemish respectively) are traditionally used in the preparation of the kriek beer, obtained by fermenting lambic together with the whole cherries added to the cask. These cherries are long associated with the history and culture of Belgium, and can even be found depicted in paintings of the Belgian artist Bruegel (1525-1569). Today, they are still used in the production of some kriek beers, but not enough of this variety is produced to supply all kriek production, and many beers are made instead with the Gorsem cherry that is grown in other parts of Belgium. With the building and expansion of the suburbs of Brussels, the amont of Schaerbeek cherry trees decreased dramatically. It is not known how much of this fruit is still harvested, but some estimates are as low as just a couple hundred kilograms per year.
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