Season’s eatings – Strawberries and Fizz

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‘Tis the season of plenty in July, those long months of repetitive purchases at the supermarket are gone and shelves are over-flowing with vivid colours, exotic fruits and the best of British produce.
As it’s July and it’s Wimbledon, what other excuse do you need to celebrate the fragrant, sweet, juicy British strawberry? But what’s best to pair with this sharply sweet fruit that so epitomises summer?
Let’s stick with the British theme and track down some brilliant UK wines; you’ll want a medium sweetness in your drink, if there’s no residual sugars in the wine it’ll taste sour next to the strawberries – however go too far and end up the sickly sweet end of the scale and you’ll lose the fruit altogether.

With overtones of berries and a buttery, brioche undercurrent; Nyetimber’s Rose 2008 offers strawberry sweetness on the palate and currants in the nose. An expensive choice, but the British strawberry season is so short it’s worth celebrating in style!  A (slightly) cheaper option is the Chapel Down Sparkling Rose – less complex than the Nyetimber, it still has a good complexity of flavour and the hints of blackcurrant stop the wine overpowering the gentle sweetness of the strawberries.  If you can find it, Field Bar’s Sparkling Elderflower wine is a limited run, low alcohol (7%), seasonal drink. Elderflower is a strawberry’s best friend, the flowery notes opens up the floral aspects of the fruit and the natural sweetness of wine and light fizziness lift the fruit.

Having a party? Combine strawberries and fizz in the ultimate easy-to-make grown up dessert:

Strawberries & Fizz – serves four – prep time 10 minutes

1 punnet of ripe British strawberries
400 ml medium sweet British sparkling wine or elderflower wine – well chilled
Few mint leaves to garnish (optional)

Get out some styly glass wear – this may be pretty sundae glasses, kids jelly bowls or vintage glasses. You can make this in standard bowls, but something glass sets of the beauty of the fruit.
Hull and half the strawberries – if there are some mega ones you may want to quarter them, the idea is that this is a simple, yet sophisticated dessert to eat.
Taste a strawberry; if they are seriously unripe or very tart add a very small sprinkling of sugar, mix through and leave for five minutes. Add the smallest amount of sugar you can as you want some acidity left to cut through the wine.
Pour over the sparkling wine, dress with mint leaves and serve with a glass of British sparkling wine on the side.
For a kids/non-alcoholic version, make up the same amount of fizz with elderflower cordial and Tildon, English sparkling mineral water.

Now Enjoy your English Summer!