With the start of Wimbledon well underway and summer's arrival here in the UK, we take a look at the tradition behind eating strawberries and cream at the All England Club.
According to Wimbledon, more than 38.4 tons of strawberries (1.92 million strawberries to be precise) are picked and consumed during the tournament and if these were laid out in a line, the summer berries would stretch further than an astonishing 37 miles, tip-to-tip! These are then paired with 1,800 gallons of cream and more than 26,000 bottles of champagne.
But where exactly does this unique culinary tradition originate from?
Served to 200 people at the very first tournament in 1877, there are two possible explanations as to why they were initially introduced. One theory suggests that quite simply, it is due to the fact that strawberries are at their peak season right now, making it the perfect time to consume them since they would have been in plentiful supply.
Head of PR for the All England Club, Johnny Perkins also stated that "Strawberries became a fashionable thing to eat during the time the tournament was played in Victorian England. They were part of afternoon tea, which had also become a popular ritual."
During the 19th century, strawberries were only available for a few weeks of the year due to a lack of refrigeration. Therefore, the berries were considered a luxury and eating them in public was a sign of prosperity, wealth and class.
The second possible reason could be due to English statesman and Catholic bishop, Thomas Wolsey. A powerful figure during the reign of King Henry VIII, it is said that he had served strawberries and cream at a banquet for the king in 1509. Wolsey was also known to have had a tennis court at his Hampton Court Palace residence, so the theme of tennis, strawberries and cream could very well have started there.
Now an iconic treat, the delicacy has become a firm tradition at Wimbledon. Thankfully, modern technology means that we can now enjoy strawberries for a lot longer and we love including the fruit in lots of our dessert kits.
Naturally sweet and full of flavour, the berry makes the perfect addition to cakes, especially in our classic French Fraisier Cake. Our recipe is made from layers of genoise, crème mousseline, fresh strawberries and homemade raspberry marzipan.
Why not have a go and share your creation with us on social media using #MakeMonDessert? Ideal for summer parties, to celebrate birthdays or to indeed mark the start of Wimbledon.
Until Sunday the 10th July 2022, you can also take 30% off the kit and recommended equipment with code 'TENNIS30'. Whilst the cake does have many stages as with most things Patisserie, the finished result is well worth it.