Monday, August 21, 2006

Mara des Bois

Strawberries have been in France since the early 18th century, when plants were brought from Chili, by the French explorer Antoine Amédée Frézier in 1713. They were long considered a medicinal fruit to treat rhumatism - recent studies of strawberries indicate that the berry contains trace amounts of acetylsalicylic acid, otherwise known as aspirin, and the fruits are a natural antihistimine.

Our elders, especially ones who lived through the Second World War and have lots of stories to tell, will recount to you near mythic tales of luscious flavorful wild berries that they had in their youth. These days a really flavorful strawberry is not easy to find. Our generation barely knows the intense sweet flavor that was bred out of the berry to favor larger hardier breeds that will endure long transport and an extended season.

In the early 1990s, the Marionnet nursery and growth laboratory developed the Mara des Bois. This berry has quickly become one of the best selling "haute gamme" berries in France, because it brings back memories of the sweet juicy intensely flavored berries of times gone by. Bigger than a wild forest berry, the Mara des Bois still yields the flavor of the forest berry, thus is coveted for plain eating and also by the best patissiers for their creations involving the fresh fruit.

If you travel to France in late August, you will see this breed at the markets. Put it on your list of the things to look out for, and by all means have a taste!

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Blogger Cannelle Et Vanille said...

looking through your archives lucy. lovely. we have strawberries here in season but never as good as the ones back home. i can tell how sweet they must have been by looking at them.

9:42 PM, February 10, 2010  

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