For tennis aficionados the world over, summer doesn’t officially start until late June, with the start of The Championships at Wimbledon. This year marks the 137th year of the competition, the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world.
With history comes tradition, and Wimbledon is steeped in it. Most notable are the manicured grass courts. Wimbledon is the only Major still played on the game’s original surface, which gave rise to its original name of “lawn tennis.”
Second, of course, are the legendary players and matches. Nadal defeats Federer. Borg dukes it out with McEnroe. Court battles King. Williams out-powers Davenport. And those players – clad in their finest tennis whites – hoisting the silver gilt cup or Venus Rosewater Dish overhead in victory.
But our favorite long-standing tradition is Strawberries and Cream. Almost as much a part of Wimbledon as the tennis itself, this dish also signals the start of summer – when fresh berries in England are at their peak.
This traditional English dessert and afternoon tea snack is simple yet delectable – ripe strawberries served with a splash of cream. At Wimbledon, nearly 9,000 servings are prepared per day, using only the highest quality strawberries from the county of Kent. The berries are picked the day before being served, arriving at Wimbledon at around 5:30 a.m., where they are inspected before being hulled. At home, you should choose the freshest strawberries you can find, at the peak of their ripeness.
Strawberries and Cream Dessert
3 cups strawberries
2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
Fresh mint leaves
Wash and dry the strawberries and remove the leaves. Remove stems and halve lengthwise.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and sugar and continue to whip until cream reaches stiff peaks. Be careful not to overdo the whipping, or the cream will become lumpy and butter-like.
Dollop a scoop of whipped cream in the bottom of a serving bowl or cup. Add a handful of strawberries, then top with more whipped cream and garnish with a mint leaf.
For a full Wimbledon experience, serve the berries with a little bubbly such as Jean-Noël Haton Brut.