Sat, Mar 09, 2019 - Page 13 News List

Strawberry generation

In the last few weeks of the strawberry season, take advantage of these home-grown treats showcasing the blushing fruit at its best

By Davina Tham  /  Staff reporter

Tom’s Bakery highlights the succulence of strawberries in this lemon mascarpone tart.

Photo: Davina Tham, Taipei Times

The locally-grown strawberry, now in the last weeks of its peak season from December to March, is beyond comparison with the flavorless imported variety available year-round in supermarkets. Even at a distance, just walking past a roadside strawberry stall, the fruit’s sweet and sunny musk is intense enough to reach pedestrians. Get closer, and the dewy red exterior promises a juicy, almost syrupy fruit with a spirited tang.

Dahu (大湖) township in Miaoli County is the major production hub for strawberries, and has embraced its identity as the “Strawberry Kingdom,” but strawberries are now also grown throughout Taiwan. Despite the popularity and quality of the fruit here, the strawberry is not indigeneous. According to the Council of Agriculture in the Executive Yuan, the strawberry was introduced during the Japanese colonial period, and records of its cultivation in Taiwan date back to 1934.

The unadorned fruit is spectacular by itself. But Taiwan’s strawberry season also inspires an annual profusion of limited-time strawberry-centered offerings, featuring uses of the fruit that enhance its natural qualities. Before the season ends this month, these treats are worth an expedition.

STRAWBERRY DAIFUKU

Lin’s Wagashi (滋養製菓) specializes in traditional Japanese confectionery with a Taiwanese touch. Dainty morsels like brown sugar mochi, baked mantou (饅頭) with chestnut, chocolate or bean fillings and pineapple tarts fill the shelves. The winter-exclusive strawberry daifuku (NT$65 for one) places a single, glistening strawberry on a pat of red bean paste in between a mochi, or glutinous rice cake. The sharp burst of berry complements the sweet beans and mellow mochi, which is as soft and smooth as a baby’s bottom. The daifuku are also available in gift boxes of eight (NT$520) or 12 (NT$780).

■ Lin’s Wagashi (滋養製菓), 247, Dihua St Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市迪化街一段247號); open daily, 9am to 7pm

STRAWBERRY TART

Customers of Tom’s Bakery (棠舖) have asked the shop to make its signature strawberry tart available year-round by using imported strawberries, but to no avail. The exacting baker-owner insists on using only seasonal local strawberries, spurning the imported variety because it “tastes bad.” The four-inch tart (NT$450) combines three components done to perfection — a crisp, buttery tart crust filled with tangy lemon mascarpone, topped with succulent strawberry slices. The flavors are intense, so one four-inch tart is enough to satisfy three or four people.

■ Tom’s Bakery (棠舖), 4, Lane 51, Tianshui Rd, Taipei City (台北市天水路51巷4號); open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 7pm

STRAWBERRY CAKES

Reservations are a must at Flugel Studio, a favorite of young city-dwellers looking for rich Western-style cakes and tarts. Here, strawberries are deployed in multiple distinctive ways. Given the current cold snap, a slice of dense coconut and strawberry cake (NT$180), served warm and topped with refillable whipped cream, is an attractive option. The bakery’s take on tiramisu sees Italian ladyfingers soaked in an orange syrup and filled with a kirsch custard and ripe strawberries (NT$200). There are also at least two versions of strawberry cheesecake, including a traditional baked cheesecake and a Japanese-style vanilla and lemon-inflected “rare,” unbaked cheesecake (both NT$180).

■ Flugel Studio, 3, Lane 34, Xinhai Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市辛亥路一段34巷3號); open Wednesday to Friday, 2pm to 7pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 1pm to 7pm

This story has been viewed 4136 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top