One Sunday in May TheGardenLady was invited to lunch at Lacroix
Restaurant in the Rittenhouse Hotel on Rittenhouse Square. The restaurant advertises itself as having one of the 10 best hotel brunches in the US. TheGardenLady will not talk about the wonderful ambiance of the restaurant or the fantastic service we had that day nor the marvelous food both in the presentation and taste. It was an amazing experience that
TheGardenLady was happy to have once in her life. Still as nice as all that was, that is not what made TheGardenLady want to write about the experience. TheGardenLady is interested in plants. And on the table were some unusual floral pieces that I think warrant a post.
First decorating the table was a cache pot filled with fraises du bois ( I have seen it also written fraises des bois). Fraises des Bois is translated as strawberries of the woods or wild strawberries. Growing up in the country, TheGardenLady couldn’t wait for spring and early summer to look for wild strawberries, the native American wild strawberry, Fragaria vesca var. americana, which grows in spring in the fields or in patches along the roadside or near the woods of the eastern states. These wild strawberries were tiny and delicate with an intense strawberry flavor. They were ambrosial.
TheGardenLady thinks her mind doesn’t deceive her when she recalls finding some in the Black Forest in Germany.
Then when TheGardenLady moved to the town where she presently lives,
she found there were patches where the wild strawberries grew. This was so wonderful and she delighted finding berries in these spots she kept secret. But then the street crews mowed the green along the sides of the road, mowed the areas where the strawberries grew. And they mowed so often that these wild patches gave up the ghost. The strawberry patches are no longer alive.
Several varieties of this wild berry have been growing in forests all over the world since prehistoric times, and though I once read that the French have domesticated them, I have never tasted the domesticated wild strawberry; but have been told that even the French have never succeeded in breeding a strawberry that compares to its wild cousin when it comes to taste.