There are strawberries and then there are Cheddar strawberries! Among the many reasons to visit Somerset – the birthplace of Granny Gothards – must be to taste some of these sumptuous gems. They were so sought after, by those who knew in the old days, that there was a special train to take them to the London markets. It ran on what became known as the ‘Strawberry Line’ which is now a popular walking and cycling trail. Sadly, the string of valley settlements that used to grow strawberries has been whittled down to a handful but they are still sold on the roadside outside the village and in discerning restaurants. They are so sweet they need no sugar but go well with cream. Our strawberries and cream ice cream won us a Taste of the West Silver Award back in 2012 and remains one of our favourites. For the purists there is our Somerset Strawberry Sorbet which is summer in a mouthful right there!
It is always a bonus when something delicious turns out to be good for you and strawberries are true soldiers in the world of nutrition. Not only are they rich sources of vitamins C and K, they also contain fibre, folic acid, manganese and potassium. The natural chemicals, such as the one that makes them a vivid red, bring benefits which have seen them used throughout history for medicinal purposes to help with digestive problems and inflammatory conditions.
We all know strawberries go with cream the way gin goes with tonic or bacon with eggs but here at Granny Gothards we just love finding new and exiting flavour combinations that bring out the best in each ingredient. For a while now people have been adding a dash of balsamic vinegar to tease out the sweetness of strawberries and garnishing with mint or basil leaves but we think the strawberry’s real best friend is cracked black pepper which is why we have created our Black Pepper Ice Cream. It is a show stopper as the finish to an al fresco supper with the spice adding a hint of warmth.
Staying with black, our other tip this month for an unusual twist on the summer staple of strawberries and cream is to try our Coconut and Charcoal Ice Cream with your berries. You know how we like to challenge your perceptions and taste buds and this is another flavour match made in heaven. The charcoal brings out the flavour of the coconut which adds an exotic, desert island feel to freshly picked berries. Talking of freshly picked, have you thought of growing your own? They are incredibly easy to grow, being as happy in pots on a patio or in hanging baskets as in a carefully tended fruit cage