I’ve seen this simple dessert credited to Câreme and Escoffier (under the name Strawberries Americaine-style) though it seems to have become famous at Romanoff’s, a popular Beverly Hills restaurant in the 1940s and 50s. It was a favourite of mine at a suburban Italian restaurant that I frequented in the 1980s where they used blue curaçao, which seemed very fancy at the time! Curaçao is an orange liqueur from the Dutch Caribbean island of the same name, but Cointreau, Grand Marnier or any orange liqueur works well. Don’t leave the strawberries in the liqueur for more than a few hours or they’ll become mushy. Chef Janni Kyritsis taught me to always serve a thin, crisp biscuit on the side of a soft dessert, for a little textural contrast (see video below for one of Janni’s favourite strawberry recipes). I like Jules Destrooper almond thins with this dish. Lightly sparkling, Brachetto d’Soumah from the Yarra Valley is only slightly sweet, low in alcohol (9.5%) and, with a hint of strawberries on the nose and palate, an ideal accompaniment.
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