Cherries just smaller than the size of golf balls, raspberries the deepest red colour possible and strawberries as sweet as you could imagine: it’s time to get fruity, says chef Will Holland.
Summer is just around the corner and already the first crops of fruit are starting to arrive at the door of my restaurant here in Ludlow. It’s an exciting time.
We’ve been receiving English-grown raspberries and strawberries for a few weeks now and their taste is magnificent. My advice to everyone is simple: make the most of local fruit now and get it while you can.
Before you know it, the season will be over and you’ll be wondering what happened to those long, golden days of summer fruits and berries.You have to make the most of things and keep your eyes peeled.
There are many pick-your-own farms in our region and they provide great value for people who want to enjoy delicious fruit at affordable prices. Last year, I tasted cherries that were the best I’d ever eaten – I never realised English cherries could be so lip-smackingly delicious.
There are plenty of soft fruit farms in Shropshire and I have great links with local suppliers. One of my favourite’s is Oak Church Farm, in neighbouring Herefordshire. They don’t spray their fruit trees with pesticides and don’t artificially pollinate their trees, either. They use bees to do the job. Oak Church Farm does everything just as nature intended. They run things classically and you can taste that in the finished fruit.
In the kitchen, we don’t like to mess about with great ingredients too much. When we get brilliant fish, meat, vegetables or fruit, we like to let the natural flavours do the talking.
Fruit-based desserts are a great example. There’s no point doing too much with a punnet of raspberries, cherries or strawberries because they already taste amazing.
At home, don’t be afraid to go down the easy route. Serve fruit with cream or ice cream and homemade meringues. Classic puddings such as pavlova, Eton mess or Peach Melba, are things that every home cook can attempt.
All you have to do is buy or pick great fruit and that’s it. You can have simple, summery desserts for the coming months. What’s not to like?
* Will Holland is one of the UK’s most successful young chefs. He earned a Michelin star before the age of 30, was named as one of the 10 most influential chefs for the present decade and is the chef-patron of La Becasse, in Ludlow.