Fantasy Strawberries

Although we can get mediocre strawberries now year-round, and even decent ones from warmer climates starting in late April or so, around these parts and in many of the chillier areas of the northern hemisphere, June marks the real start of the season.

This past week I has the opportunity to visit a fabled 3-starred restaurant in the Bourgogne (Burgundy) region of France, Marc Meneau L'Esperance. It was such an absorbing experience that I still have to digest it, in the philosophical sense, before I can do justice to it in writing. However, one small part of the amazing experience that was a pure and simple joy to behold and to taste, was this dazzling plate of fresh strawberries and raspberries.

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The perfect, sweet berries are presented in 3 ways: unadorned, bejeweled with sugar crystals, and with a tiny drop each of balsamic vinegar. The sugared berries are nestled on a bed of spun sugar. Doesn't it look like something that might have been presented to a fairy queen or a princess?

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While replicating the spun sugar may be a bit of a problem, the rest could be emulated even in a humble home kitchen. The main magic of this though is getting hold of perfect berries. What about a truly indulgent June brunch with brioche and a plate of fresh berries?

After a brief stop at home to take care of stuff, I'm off again for a long-awaited 2 week stay in Provence. Our overworked selves sort of need a 'real' vacation, so my online time will be very limited, but I am bringing along the trusty Powerbook to take lots of notes and of course, lots and lots of photos. (I won't be able to reply to emails or comments much until I get back. Thanks for your patience!)

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