July 2019 - Each month, one of our Chefs Instructors unveils his favourite seasonal product and reveals his preparation secrets. This summer, Vincent Valton, Pastry Chef Instructor, presents us with his must-have summer fruit: the wild Mara des bois strawberry.
Although there are many different varieties of strawberry, I wanted to highlight this variety in particular since, once ripe, it resembles the woody taste of a wild strawberry. The Mara is picked in July right up until the first autumn frosts. It is brick red in colour, cone shaped with a firm flesh, and is one of the most cultivated varieties of strawberry in France.
It is very important to pick the strawberry with its stalk in order to keep it longer. So as not to destroy the Mara des Bois aroma, it is advisable not to overcook it.
Where to eat them
The best strawberries I ever tasted were the sun-soaked strawberries of the Languedoc-Roussillon region delivered to us straight from a small organic producer. In that way we were able to focus on short food circuits and small holdings.
I am quite partial to the taste of strawberries as they are, that’s why I try hard not to combine them with other flavours. The strawberry flavour is sufficient in itself, yet to boost it up a little I sometimes combine it with some fresh herbs such as dill, basil or tarragon. I also enjoy them sprinkled with bee pollen, ideal for its nutritional value.
How to prepare them
The strawberry can be worked into different textures, so that’s why in this Strawberry Charlotte recipe I have highlighted the mouthfeel with the ladyfingers, the short crust pastry is there for the crumble, and the mousse for its airy aspect. Each variety of strawberry has a distinct flavour, so I have combined three types of strawberry. The Mara des Bois in the mousse will accentuate the flavour of the wild strawberry coulis and the Gariguette will bring a tangy touch.
I would pair this dessert with a light, sparkling rosé such as Buget Cerdon. J’associe ce dessert à un vin léger, pétillant et rosé tel que le Buget Cerdon. The dominant tones of red fruits go well with the total strawberry flavour of this dessert, and the aromatics of this wine bring a more delicate undertone for a better balance.
Pastry enthusiast, learn more from our talented Chefs: