I’ve always imagined that raspberries and strawberries fight when our backs are turned. Sure, by all means, put them together on a pavlova and they’ll appear very well behaved, but leave the room for a few minutes and they’re at battle stations.
I felt the need to take sides in this war, and sidled up to the raspberries. Delicious in jams, cakes, on their own, in a fruit salad (especially good with pineapple), or with honey and natural yoghurt. Yum yum yum yum yum.
When the raspberries aren’t around, I’m nonetheless partial to strawberries. But I never thought they’re as versatile as a raspberry. Sure, they’re good with cream, but they wouldn’t know what to do in a jam. I’ve just never gone for strawberry-flavoured anything.
Last week, my juvenile prejudices changed when I attended a Bord Bia event hosted by the very charming Catherine Fulvio of Ballyknocken Cookery School. Catherine was demonstrating to myself and an audience of bloggers and foodie journalists just how wonderful the strawberry is. I left converted (although when Armageddon comes I will still side with the raspberry).
Catherine, who is married to an Italian man, says that Irish strawberries in season far surpass Italy’s offerings; our weather makes them that little bit tarter. Last year, our (lack of) summer did no favours to her crop, but come sunny September, she was astonished to witness them fruit.
Catherine shared some simple ideas for putting our delicious Irish strawberries to use. I’m going to share some more of these during National Strawberry Week, which will take place this year from June 7-13. But for now, I’ll just give one tip for feeding kids, and one just for adults.
To cram some fruit down junior’s throat, simply whizz up some “Pink Milk”, which is nothing more than fresh strawberries blended up with milk. Perfect on its own or in cereal. Once you’ve completed your parental duties, blend up some strawberries with champagne or sparkling wine for a refreshing summer tipple.