A berry breeder has revealed Brits should ditch the cream on their strawberries and instead sprinkle PARMESAN CHEESE over them.
Lucy Slatter claims that the hard cheese, usually scattered generously over pizza and pasta dishes, is the perfect pairing as it is known to bring out the berry’s unique flavour characteristics.
In fact Lucy, who is head breeder at AVA Berries, says firm favourite pouring cream should be kicked to the kerb as it does nothing to enhance flavours.
Apparently, it’s not just the Italian staple that goes well with strawberries, with herbs and spices such as basil, mint, black pepper, and chilli pairing well too – along with balsamic vinegar and even crab.
But it seems it’s not just the toppings where Brits are going wrong to get the best out of their strawberries.
Research commissioned by AVA Berries revealed that nine out of ten Brits are storing and preparing their strawberries wrongly.
More than a third (37%) remove strawberries from the fridge and wash with cold water, which Lucy says drastically reduces the sensory experience.
The study found that only one in ten Brits remove strawberries from the fridge and leave to reach room temperature before tucking in.
Lucy says that leaving strawberries to come to room temperature for at least an hour is crucial as warmer temperatures allow taste buds and nose sensors to take full advantage of the complex flavours and aromas in strawberries.
Brits should also treat whole strawberries as though they’re an expensive whisky and ‘nose’ the fruit, according to Lucy.
Smelling your strawberries helps you to pick out flavours and aromas that you wouldn’t be able to detect through eating alone.
Lucy said: “It may seem a little eccentric to top strawberries with parmesan cheese and pass on the cream, but if you’re adventurous enough to give it a go, you won’t regret it.
“By choosing this cheesy topping, and allowing your strawberries to sit at room temperature before serving, you’ll have a delicious bowl of strawberries that will be the envy of everyone – including those munching on them at Wimbledon.
“Smelling them is an important part of getting the most out of strawberries.
“Strawberries have incredibly complex flavour profiles and the act of nosing allows you to get a much fuller flavour on the palate.
“Serve them too cold and washing them with cold water right before eating them is not going to get the best flavour out of them.”
AVA Berries offer the best flavour, sweetness and quality and are grown by an exclusive group of growers in the UK to produce exceptional strawberries every time.
The survey also revealed strawberries top the list of fruits most likely to be used to woo a potential partner with 44% choosing them, while 12.57 is when the nation is most likely to eat strawberries.
Of the 2,000 Brits surveyed, many said they’d tried the berries with traditional pairings including chocolate, cream and yoghurt.
A quarter (25%) admitted they paired their strawberries with ‘unusual’ ingredients including black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and even peanut butter.
But it’s not just the experts who have some left-field suggestions of what to serve alongside the red berries.
Adventurous foodies listed nettles, mustard, beans, haggis sausages and fish fingers as pairings they’d given a go, with one revealing they’d even rustled up a strawberry and anchovy milkshake.
To help consumers navigate all these different pairings, AVA Berries has developed a strawberry flavour wheel that shows the different flavour characteristics of this deliciously complex berry and which recipes would be worth giving a try.
AVA strawberries are currently sold as premium lines in some of the UK’s top supermarkets, find them in M&S stores and Aldi’s Specially Selected, Morrison’s The Best, Co-op’s Irresistible, and Sainsburys’ Taste The Difference ranges.
For more information, visit: www.avaberries.com/flavour-wheel/