Parmesan cheese is the ideal topping for your strawberries, says expert
Some people prefer chocolate on their strawberries, others cream or ice cream and some just a sprinkling of sugar.
But one berry breeder has suggested a very unusual type of topping to bring out the flavour in this summer fruit favourite – parmesan cheese.
Head breeder at AVA Berries, Lucy Slatter, claims that the hard cheese, usually scattered generously over pizza and pasta dishes, is the perfect accompaniment for the juicy red berry, despite its pong.
And apparently, it’s not just the Italian staple that goes well with strawberries, herbs and spices such as basil, mint, black pepper, and chilli do too, along with balsamic vinegar and even crab.
“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,” Lucy claimed.
It seems it’s not just the toppings that matter when it comes to getting the best out of our strawberries either.
Research commissioned by AVA revealed that nine out of ten Brits are storing and preparing their strawberries incorrectly.
More than a third (37%) remove them from the fridge and wash them with cold water, which Lucy says drastically reduces the sensory experience.
Leaving them instead to come to room temperature for at least an hour before eating is crucial as warmer temperatures allow taste buds and nose sensors to take full advantage of the complex flavours and aromas in the berries.
Smelling strawberries first also helps pick out flavours and aromas that you wouldn’t be able to detect through eating alone.
“Smelling them is an important part of getting the most out of strawberries,” Lucy said.
“Strawberries have incredibly complex flavour profiles and the act of nosing allows you to get a much fuller flavour on the palate.
“Serving them too cold and washing them with cold water right before eating them is not going to get the best flavour out of them either,” she added.
The survey of 2,000 Brits also revealed that strawberries top the list of fruits most likely to be used to woo a potential partner with 44% choosing them, while 12.57 is the time of day when the nation is most likely to eat the fruit.
Most respondents said they’d tried the berries with traditional pairings including chocolate, cream and yoghurt but a quarter (25%) admitted they paired their strawberries with ‘unusual’ ingredients including black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and even peanut butter.
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.
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.