Sunday, 5 July 2009

Fraise du Périgord Varieties

France is the second-largest European producer of strawberries after Spain. When it comes to strawberries, the Périgord region has become a symbol of both productivity and quality. There, strawberry growers benefit from the only Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for a strawberry in France, and their label, Fraise de Périgord, is a guarantee of quality. Much like the exclusively French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), the PGI is a European Union label that ensures place of origin as well as specific growing they are grown entirely in open fields), harvesting and packaging requirements. The strawberries must have an intense flavour and express the local terroir. Harvest is by hand, between the first and third hour of daylight, when temperatures are cool. Once plucked from the plant, each berry is placed by hand in a barquette lined with a paper cushion to protect the berry on its way to market.

All the varieties are cousins, descendants of those early imports:

The Gariguette

The Gariguette is elegant, juicy, fragrant and sophisticated with a clear tart finish and is undoubtedly the favourite of the French. It is characterized by its oblong, orange-red colour.

The Darselect

The Darselect is a bigger strawberry than its compatriots, is more rustic, durable and like the Elsanta, is heart-shaped.

The Mara des Bois

The Mara des Bois is astonishingly perfumed, with an unrivalled depth of flavour. It's subtle and delicate - closer to the wild strawberry. Juicy and sweet, it is highly prized by chefs.

The Cigaline

The aroma of Cigaline (which is a variant of Gariguette) is more musky than its peers and it has a deep vermilion colour.

The Elsanta

A heart shaped strawberry with glossy, highly aromatic orange-red fruit that have a good shelf life.

No comments: