Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Piaceri d'Italia: Fragole

There are some times in life when you are waiting for the big things to sort themselves out. So in the meantime, it is important, even necessary, to focus on the little things, the small pleasures in life. Here is a series dedicated to the little joys of being in Rome.

Le Fragole: Strawberries



It is strawberry season. So that means indulging on a bounty of wonderful recipes involving fragole, or just on the strawberries themselves! Here are some ways to enjoy them:

Pizza di Fragole 
Photo top right... if you couldn't figure it out.
Obsessed with pizza? Substitute nutella for tomato sauce and strawberries for cheese and you have a new classic!

Crostata Fragolina
Photo bottom left
This is the piccolissima version of the Crostata or Torta di Fragoline. Essentially, small pies filled with cream made in part with mascarpone cheese and topped with fragoline, wild mini strawberries that taste more like berries than the large versions do.

Fragolino
Photo bottom right
An alcoholic aperitif made of the fragola grape. Fragoline, mentioned above, have the pleasure of being submerged in this sweet, almost syrupy, delicious liqueur. Watch out when eating the fragoline at the end though. They are potent!

Lastly, more things you can do with strawberries:
  • Count seeds instead of sheep to make you drowsy. The average strawberry has 200 seeds. 
  • Give a dozen strawberries instead of a dozen roses next Valentine's Day. Strawberries and roses are in the same family.
  • Eat and Be Merry: The ancient Romans believed that strawberries alleviated symptoms of melancholy. They also believed that strawberries could help with fainting, inflammations, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, bad breath, attacks of gout, and diseases of the blood, liver and spleen.
  • Take a step toward world peace: In medieval times, leaders served strawberries at important functions to bring peace and prosperity.
  • Most importantly, FALL IN LOVE: one folk lore claims that if you split a double strawberry in half and share it with the opposite sex, you’ll fall in love. If only it were that easy...
  • More fun facts courtesy of the London Strawberry Festival.

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