Tarting it Up

My fingertips are red from all the strawberries I have been eating lately. Once spring begins to bring the fresh, warm breezes to tickle my cheek and the sun begins to stream through the windows early in the morning I begin to reach for berries…especially of the “straw” variety.

I can eat them freshly washed with the stems still intact. I love them dipped in white or dark chocolate. Filled with sweetened cream cheese, with ice cream or angel food cake. I love them in breads, in pancakes and in milkshakes. They’re delicious in pie, cobbler and coffee cake. You name it, strawberries make it better.

When at an Italian restaurant one evening a few summers ago I ordered a light dessert after an amazing, but a little heavy meal. The waiter had suggested a bowl of fresh strawberries with a little brown sanding sugar and some perfectly aged balsamic vinegar. I had never had this combination before and I was a bit surprised at the flavours. Once you get past the initial thought of vinegar on berries it is all good. The flavours play off of each other so magically it’s almost hard to believe you would ever eat the two separately again.

When I had three pints of strawberries languishing in my fridge recently I kept thinking back on that wonderful dessert. I also remembered a bottle of white balsamic vinegar that was begging to be used in a delicious, interesting recipe. Pairing white balsamic with a beautiful, unctuous custard was the best thing I’ve done in some time.

Next time I’m making balsamic ice cream and serving it with strawberries…that says delicious to me!