Strawberries

 “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.”

– William Butler, 16th Century writer

It must be summer in Perthshire because it’s warm and sunny and local strawberries are appearing all over the place.

There’s a small town called Coupar Angus just a few miles from where I live, and every year a travelling strawberry seller sets up shop on a rough bit of ground next to the Red House Hotel there. I gave him some custom today, and in return he let me take a photo of him and his strawberry kiosk:

These are the strawberries that were purchased from him:

Here they are nestling amongst some fruity chums:

I turned my back for two seconds and what do you know, but the strawberries had hopped away from their fruit comrades and clustered round this tub of double cream. Look how lovingly they’re cosying up to it:

Strawberries and raspberries are a big thing round here, an area often referred to as ‘the soft fruits capital of Scotland’. I do like strawberries but if I had to choose between them and raspberries (which would be dreadful), I would probably go for the raspberries.

In celebration of berries in general,  how about a big cake covered in raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and various other things besides? I poached this from Home is where the boat is, via the lovely Lucinda who posted it on her Crazy for Tea Time Facebook page. When I saw it, I was stunned and delighted:

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57 thoughts on “Strawberries

    • I know, great aren’t they? What’s the vegan alternative to double cream? Do you get soy cream, like soy milk? That cake is out of this world. I loved your comment on my Facebook page, that was exactly what I thought – whoa!!

      • I think there is a soy cream, but there are probably other alternatives out there. I do confess to missing real whipped cream. I try not to think about it too often (and how good it would taste w/ fresh strawberries and shortcake…).

  1. What a glorious cake! What a spectacular showcase for those berries! Thank you for the ripe, red photos, and how lovely it must be to have your own, personal strawberry vendor. We are wolfing down the strawberries at my house, as well, along with blueberries (sadly, raspberries are a bit harder to come by here, though I love them, too!). This is a cheery and refreshing post.:-)

  2. An old friend of my mum and dads has a farm in Cheshire, when I was a child we used to go there almost every summer. My mum and dad helped in the fields picking strawberries while I used to sell them from the farm shop. My other job was to sit in the hayloft and ping air rifle slugs of a large piece of corrigated iron and this caused a line of bits of metal to start clanging and frighten off the birds.
    Anyway the reason for this comment was every day I used to have strawberries in my cornflakes, strawberry jam with cheshire cheese on digestive biscuits for lunch (its fabulous, honest) and after dinner, strawberries and ice cream.

    Quarrymill occasionally does wonderful strawberry tarts but they are not on the menu.

    I like strawberries, they are my carefree youth, they are an unexpected surprise.
    They are summer.

    • What a wonderful comment, thank you Geoff! I must try and get one of these strawberry tarts at Quarrymill. I can well believe the jam and cheese on digestives being excellent, I love jam and cheese together. I bet you enjoyed your air rifle job, what a satisfying thing to do.

      • Good Lord, you’re absolutely right. In that case it does indeed seem perfect. BTW, where does your strawberry monger get such ripe fruit from at this time of year?

        • From the strawberry fields around Blairgowrie. Quite a lot of the soft fruit is grown in polytunnels, which protects the fruit and possibly brings it on more quickly. I think these ones must be an early variety but the season starts around now and continues into August.

    • Ho ho! You have a blackberry farm? My mum would love that, she fills her freezer with blackberries every year and uses them in fruit crumbles and the like over the winter.

  3. That cake is just amazing! Our family has been ogling at it.

    I agree with you that berries are sublime, and we are so lucky here in Scotland to have home-grown ones. Now I’m hungry!

  4. What perfectly beautiful strawberries! I know they taste as good as they look. Your personification of fruit is hilarious. The next thing you know, you’ll have them in little bathing suits diving into the cream!

  5. Well, that is a lovely complex cake. But I’ll take your gorgeous berry closeup still lifes any day! They look luscious. We have to wait a couple of weeks around here for the local variety —

    • Aw, thank you, I was thinking I really should have left the fruity one out because it’s a bit yellow with the lighting. They’re worth waiting for, just think how they’ll delght you in a couple of weeks!

  6. You’re so lucky living in Blairgowrie, Lorna—it is the strawberry capital of the world; none I have ever tasted anywhere in the world are as sweet and luscious. As the berry season comes to a close, some kind soul from Braemar takes orders then drives over the hill and returns with a car full for jam making—-the aroma wafting through open kitchen windows is sublime. I know the stall in your photo but we usually bought from the stalls on the Braemar side of town.
    Enjoy them.

    • Thanks Davey, I love the idea of the smell of jam making wafting all over Braemar! It is a wonderful scent, and a nice end to the season. I think I know where you bought yours, on the outskirts of Blairgowrie where they set up a similar stall. I’ve bought some lovely berries from that one, too. I’m really looking forward to the raspberries, and will tempt you to dream of home with some photos of them anon!

  7. I can’t begin to tell you how good that double cream looks to me right now 🙂 I just can’t find any here in Bulgaria 😦

  8. Lorna, those strawberries look delightful. My mom visited America and spent a long time gazing at the strawberries and turning them over in her hand. “I can’t bear to eat them, ” she said “they are too pretty.” Atleast English strawberries look “real”. We get ginormous ones here (pumped with steroids, I think) that look too perfect. And oh, I am a HUUUUGE fan of double/clotted cream. I tried to carry some back from Devon but we missed our connecting flight in Utah and it all went bad. I was really sad about it. 😦

    • Aw, that’s so sad about the cream, Shona! Your mom’s right, strawberries are beautiful little jewels. Is heavy cream the same as double cream, I wonder? I know clotted cream is different, but this stuff in the picture is just thick pouring cream. My parents have some wild strawberries in their garden that are tiny, and have a different flavour from ordinary strawberries. They’re not ready yet, but I must post some when they are, to show you how small they are.

  9. Wow, that cake is a work of art! I prefer raspberries too, but if I’m buying strawberries, then British (Scottish!) ones are the best. Love your photos!

    • Thanks very much Jo. I don’t know if it’s the varieties grown, or the travel factor, or just that Scotland has a good climate in which to grow soft fruits, but I have had strawberries abroad and they haven’t been quite the same. Then again, I may just be biased.

  10. I’m with you on the raspberries… although a good strawberry is a small miracle. On arriving in Montrose one New Year’s Eve, after a very long drive, I was handed a large gin and tonic with a big fat frozen strawberry in it instead of ice. Wow – utterly delicious. So even in the depths of winter you can get that summer taste sensation. I freeze Angus raspberries to eat like lollipops straight from the freezer – crunchy, tangy, summery.
    btw – Coupar Angus has mixed associations for me. The only speeding fine I’ve ever had was in Coupar, where there is a police training school. Beware, they are waiting for you. I was only doing 38mph!

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