First Strawberry

Première Fraise

[First Strawberry]

I am normally not one to buy fresh fruit out of season — the waiting game only heightens the pleasure of eating them at their peak — but I had to buy strawberries last week for a project I’m working on. I wrinkled my nose at the notion of buying March strawberries and fully expected these bright red babies to be tasteless little rocks with an excellent colorist, but I have to say I was most pleasantly surprised: these were real strawberries! Tasty and sweet! With the right texture and a delicious scent!

They are the gariguette variety, usually the most precocious of varieties and one that is non-remontante, which means that the bushes bloom only once a year. Mine came from the South-West of France, where some of the best French strawberries come from (there is even a Confrérie de la Fraise du Périgord, the brotherhood of the Périgord strawberry!). More precisely they were grown in Marmande, a city that’s also known for its tomato production (la tomate marmande) — and its cloister, made famous (to me at least) by Vincent Delerm and his song Deutsche Grammophon.

So. What with the sunshine and the strawberries (I’m on my third box in a week), you would think it is June around here! Still trying to convince my coworkers to have lunch on the terrace, but they claim it’s too chilly. Pfff*.

* “Pfff” is French for “Sheesh”.


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  • osage

    This makes me remember my first visit to France: in the market, the woman yelling “Mesdames, achetez la fraise, la fraise est belle.”

    And my second time, I remember so clearly a four-year old, in big trouble with his mother, crying sadly as she admonished him “Tu
    n’auras pas de fraises.”

    The ultimate punishment.

  • cynthiaLW

    I know what you mean, as the local strawberries in the Willamette Valley here in Oregon always have been so delicious. Several years ago, I had a friend visit me from Nevada City, CA and I took her strawberry picking with me down the street and around the corner at a U-Pick field. She was surprised at what they tasted like and said that they didn’t taste like that in California. Well, my take on that is that she had never picked them fresh before, but always purchased them at a grocery store. I know we are spoiled by our produce here, but I think the key is to find out where things grow and get as close as possible to buying them fresh picked and ripe. I’m glad you’ve found some great ones where you live- enjoy!

  • Alisa

    I have been buying Spanish strawberries for the past two weeks. They”ve been really good too. Have you ever made lemonade tossed in the blender with a few strawberries? This makes everyone very happy.

    Do you know what the Confrérie de la Fraise du Périgord, the brotherhood of the Périgord strawberry, wear? Since you introduced the brotherhood concept to me, I have chuckled my way through a few findings of various Confrerie, via the internet!

  • JK Ruddy

    Lucky girl! – it is still trying to snow here in these parts of Canada – though today is gorgeous there are no strawberries in sight.

  • Lilia

    Ah, les garriguettes! My daughter and I had some when at a restaurant when we were in Paris a couple of years ago. They were so good, we bought a basket, filled it with goodies from rue Cler (fromages, pain, fraises, reines claudes and pattisseries). What a picnic! we will be there again in May for a Paris wedding – we’ll re-create our picnic. Merci for the reminder!

  • maryanne

    sounds of weeping….new england…seemingly light years away from fresh strawberries, real watermelon, and garden tomatoes to say nothing of twilight, grilled fish and dinner in the garden every nite till the mosquitos are too much!

  • Pallas Athene

    My last boyfriend, a very seductive Frenchman, used to call me his ‘belle Anglaise, tentante que des fraises’. He claimed it was from chanson française that I have yet to find. If anyone knows it, get in touch…

  • a

    “Tu n’auras pas de fraises”
    did you report her?

  • kp gallant

    I will be in Paris in two weeks! Don’t eat them all…save a few for me!! ;-) Merci!

  • cocoaloco

    I find the fragrance of fresh strawberries to be nearly intoxicating. It goes to the brain like a drug. Aromatherapy indeed.

  • Insanity Infusion

    ~~Oh the torture!~~

    I adore strawberries, but I am allergic to them. Sometimes I give in and eat one or two anyways and suffer the reaction, but typically I just look at them and wish I wasn’t allergic.

    Strawberry eaters of the world, you are ~so~ lucky!

    Insanity Infusion

  • I am so jealous. I live in the tropics, so strawberries come in plastic boxes at horrifying prices and they’re never good. Although I’ve had some pretty good strawberries that my mother brought back from Beijing in Feburary.

  • Caroline

    Ahh, ouais, les fraises! Ici a Vancouver, Canada, on les a deja eues depuis quelques semaines. Avec le beau soleil, c’est le gouter parfait avec un peu de chocolat tout noir.

    Mmm, yes, strawberries! Here in Vancouver, Canada, the sun is shining and it’s simply the perfect snack with some dark chocolate ….

  • Mais oui, c’est vrai, la saison des Gariguettes commence !!!
    Dommage qu’il pleuve aujourd’hui j’aurai bien été partante pour un dej en terrasse avec toi ! Je suis sûre que les sujets de discussions ne manqueraient pas !!
    En tous cas tu nous allèches avec ton projet “secret” !
    A très bientôt,

  • ash

    my first impression when i looked at the picture, “sweet”.

  • James Luyten

    Where can we get Fraises Gariguette in the US? Can’t seem to find any source….

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