Not all fruits acquire the cachet of strawberries. No world-class novel ever celebrated dawn with Champagne and plums or wallowed in indulgent luxury with chocolate covered apricots. No Academy Award winning movie commemorates the opulent, sensual pleasures of the crisp apple, though when in “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” Tess’s ignominious cousin placed that lush red, heart-shaped strawberry between her teeth we all held our breath. Then there’s Bergman’s nostalgic memory of the picking of wild strawberries with a first love. The strawberry, and its first cousin the rose, were made for romance.
Of course, strawberries were made for eating too. No matter how many of those little crates of spectacular berries are gathered from our market, more would have been better. Some get consumed on the way home. Some find their way into the mouths of those rinsing them off. Even more disappear while being measured for a recipe. Not infrequently, the serving dishes have to be downsized before the strawberries actually make it to the table.
It is Cardinal Wolsey who is credited with the classic pairing of strawberries and cream as a treat for the forever grateful Henry VIII. In Henry’s court, fourteen years was forever. Contrary to a myth held dear in the southern U. S., strawberry shortcake was invented in England. Inexplicably, National Strawberry Day is February 27th. More appropriately Strawberry Shortcake Day is in June. The original recipes called for stacking of sweet biscuit halves layered with strawberries and drizzling the whole with a sweetened cream. About 1910, French pastry chefs got into the act and substituted whipped heavy cream. Evolution at its finest.
Strawberries are so easy to dress up, just slice a few into a wine or martini glass, add a dollop of whipped cream, or fresh yogurt mixed with brown sugar or just a spoonful of crème fraîche and it is a dessert worthy of even the most fanatical foodie. You can dip them in chocolate; marinate them in balsamic vinegar; and process them into a dessert soup. Or you can just put a bowl on the table and watch them vanish...On our website you’ll be able to find many recipes for strawberries, including Strawberry Granita, Straaberra Pye, Strawberry Risotto and Strawberry Coconut Soup. For today, we offering fresh Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream.