There are some things that can be coerced into growing at any time of the year and taste good, there are some things that can be grown hydroponically in huge glass houses and taste good, there are some things that can be imported from halfway around the world and still taste pretty much as they should.
And, there are some things that can’t and don’t.
It’s the middle of the berry season in Europe, which is a very special time. It’s true that I can go to a supermarket anytime of the year, and pick up something called ‘strawberries’ or ‘raspberries’, but then I put one in my mouth and am hit by the bitter wave of disappointment as I realise that it actually tastes of almost nothing. Eating locally is always a the environmentally sound option but this especially seems like a lot of food miles for a mouthful or relative sorrow.
So, I abstain, and I wait for those precious few months of the year when this season comes around and I can eat the real thing. In that fleeting little bit of the year when they are around you should get your paws on as many as you can. Eat them fresh, but also save their joy for the rest of the year, make jam, dehydrate them, even pickle them if you are feeling adventurous.
The Best of the Berries
All berries are good, but some are even better. Some people love strawberries, Rima likes blueberries, but personally I can’t think of anything much better than a beautiful ripe raspberry. They are so simply good that you don’t really have to do anything with them at all, a quick wash and just pop one of the juicy little flavourbombs into your mouth.
Of course if that is just a bit too simple, just a little too easy, then you can do any one of a thousand other things to make them even more amazing.
Maybe serve them in individual bowls, sitting on a pool of thick greek yoghurt and with a simple sugar caramel drawn in lines over the top, so that where the caramel hits the yoghurt it sinks in and goes all nice and goeey, and where it hits the berries it creates crispy shards across them. It tastes fantastic, but if you serve it in a dark colour bowl then the contrast between the bowl, the white yoghurt and bright red fruit, and the pretty lines of translucent caramel mean that it is visually stunning as well.
You could also throw some into a cheesecake or a lemon tart, whip up a coconut and raspberry mousse or if you want to be very English then you could make a Bakewell Tart (recipe post coming at some future point).
But really, if you don’t need to show off to someone then it’s enough just to pop them one after another into your mouth, or maybe drop a few into a glass of sparkling wine.