Thursday 19 May 2011

When British Really is Best

You may not have noticed, but this week is British Tomato Week! (seriously why would you have noticed?)

Apologies to anyone in the British tomato industry, but I can't say I have really noticed the difference between British tomatoes and, well, any other tomato, to be honest. However, this Tomato Week has got me thinking about other British produce that is actually worthy of celebration:


I guess I've always looked positively on strawberries, but I could really take them or leave them... until... I tried a British Strawberry. Absolutely delicious! There are at least 12 varieties of British strawberries and I'm not sure what variety(s) I have eaten, but they are always sweet, perfect firmness and extra extra yummy.

Apparently, strawberries have been grown in Britain since 200BC and were eaten by couples on their wedding day as they were believed to be an aphrodisiac. Oh la la.

Sadly for British strawberry fans, they are usually only in season from June - August. Although this year, due to the very warm April and May, they have come up a bit early and are in stores NOW! I highly suggest you go buy some (be prepared to pay a bit extra for them - its worth it) and try one (or all) of the following enjoyment methods:

Strawberries and Cream
Photo: ITV
Strawberries and Cream - this traditionally British combination is a must-have at many summer time events (think Wimbledon, especially). Don't be surprised when the cream isn't like Cool Whip though - it will be unsweetened, but still quite good. Enjoy with a glass of Cava (don't tell anyone I like it better than Champagne) and if you're feeling extra fancy try this recipe for Brûléed Strawberries and Cream. omgyum.

Eton Mess - this dish, which has been served to the students of Eton College since the 1930s and is traditionally served at Eton's annual cricket game vs. Winchester college, is made up of strawberries, meringue and cream.

Eton Mess
Photo: Guardian
According to Wikipedia "the word mess may refer to the appeerance of the dish or may be used in the sense of "a quantity of food", particularly "a prepared dish of soft food" or "a mixture of ingredients cooked or eaten together". I'm in the mess = messy looking dish camp which is good because it means anyone can make Eton mess. There are no points for presentation on this one and you can't mess it up. Just put some crumbled up meringue in a dish/bowl/cup/your hands/whatever, add some sliced/chopped strawberries and pour cream over. Done. Eat. Yum.

Oh, and remember when we all decided that Surrey is the best? Here's another reason and another British best - The Chalk Ridge Rosé produced at Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking (Surrey) has beaten more than 360 challengers from 21 countries to claim the still rosé gold medal prize in the International Wine Challenge, the world's biggest and most influential wine competition.

Strawberries go nicely with rosé, dont they?



  1. I cannot tell you how much I love strawberries and cream. Ohhhh so good! I bet they are great there!

  2. Yep. They're pretty good. I really like British butter too.

  3. Ha- I saw the Denbies news and thought of you! We went there once- didn't try the wine though but maybe now we will.

  4. Thanks for thinking of me! I havent tried Denbie's wine either, and don't really like rose, to be honest, but I'll take the points for Surrey where I can get them! :)