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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Tarte aux Fraises

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In 1984, I traveled to France for the first time and became enchanted with Paris, the French people, and the French countryside.  For several years I traveled to France chaperoning high school students with two close friends who taught French.  I knew no French that first trip; I taught math.  My two French teacher friends laughingly said math was a foreign language.

Over the years, I picked up enough French words and phrases to read menus, to find a bathroom, and to buy shoes.  The first phrase I learned to say was how to ask for a Coca-Cola with lots of ice and a strawberry tart.  Each year I eagerly looked forward to eating my first strawberry tart of the trip and ate them as often as possible.  The French strawberries are full of flavor, much more so than any American strawberry I've eaten including ones homegrown by my mother.  The tarts have a rich cream custard under the strawberries, and the crust is light and flaky.  Even today when I travel to France, I begin searching neighborhood patisseries for a 'tarte aux fraises'' as soon as I arrive.  Look closely at the lower left in the patisserie window below.  I think I spy a strawberry tart.





Thus began my love for France.

In 2011, I started Botanic Bleu, a small home and garden gift shop that offers new and vintage items from French flea markets, Deep South antique stores, and select wholesalers.  Check back for more stories about France and the Botanic Bleu shop.

Until next time, keep looking for strawberry tarts wherever you go.