In the spotlight
In my opinion, a cherry clafoutis is one of the benchmark desserts of French cuisine. And may the first person who has never eaten a clafoutis throw the first cherrystalk at me! The clafoutis is easy to make, good for parties, sweet but tart, dry on top but fluffy below. It doesn’t demand any skill to make it, except knowing how to remove all the pits when you eat it!
Ingredient of the week
Wild strawberries, the strawberries of today's woodlands, have always been eaten by humans in Europe, Asia, and on the Pacific Ocean coastline, where they grew spontaneously.
The Romans were already familiar with them, particularly because of their medicinal and cosmetic properties. They were considered a panacea in the Middle Ages. Louis XIV later grew them in the greenhouse at Versailles. In the 18th century, Fontenelle, who died a centenarian, attributed his longevity to wild strawberries.
The strawberry only came into existence in the 18th century. Little did Amédée Frézier, native of Savoy and marine engineering officer, suspect that his name (a corruption of strawberry plant) would have a bearing on his destiny when he was sent to Chile in 1713. While he was walking in the city of Concepción, he noticed large white fruit on plants resembling those of wild strawberries. He took five seedlings back to France and gave them to Antoine de Jussieu, head gardener of the botanical gardens in Paris. After cultivating them, Jussieu sent seedlings to Brittany, where they grew very well.
It was in the botanical gardens at Brest where these Chilean wild strawberry plants were placed beside others, wild Virginia strawberries brought from America one hundred years before and which produced small red fruit.
They crossed naturally, giving birth to a third variety with large red fruit. This was the forerunner of all present-day strawberry varieties.
The new variety was grown at Plougastel.
However, the leading strawberry producer is California, USA. Spain is ranked second, followed by South Korea, Japan, Poland, Russia, France, Belgium, Ukraine, and the Netherlands.