by Jane Rodmell for All The Best Fine Foods, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter’

Sometimes at All The Best we taste something SO delicious that we just have to share the experience right away!

Our Chef Olivia went on a culinary adventure last week visiting several local farms with our friends from 100Km Foods. Together with loads of fresh produce, Chef brought back to our kitchen baskets of freshly picked strawberries. They taste spectacular-sweet, juicy, bursting with summer flavour.

Our pastry chefs are in seventh heaven. They’re creating all kinds of delicious berry desserts including Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry Tarts, real Strawberry Jello and Strawberry Lime Compôte that is fabulous over ice cream or yogurt.

We then had the inspiration to team up the berries with Belly Basil Gelato. Oh my… over-the-top amazing!  Former chef, Shelly Westgarth, makes Belly Ice Cream in a small lodge kitchen at Deerhurst resort outside Huntsville in Muskoka. She sources all natural ingredients from local farmers and creates ice creams and gelatos with no preservatives or chemical additions that have true old-fashioned ice cream texture and remarkable flavour.

For spectacular summer desserts, pair fresh berries, berry coulis, ice cream or gelato with All The Best Meringue Nests or Kisses with a topping of whipped cream…if you must. Or you may be inspired to make your own meringues from the following easy recipe.

5 egg whites
½ cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch
1 cup (250 ml) sifted confectioner’s (icing) sugar

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip egg whites to combine. On high speed, gradually add sugar, beating to stiff peak stage. Fold in cornstarch and confectioner’s sugar. Drop by tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart or, using a spatula or piping bag, form into circles about 1/2-inch (1 cm) high.
Bake in preheated 200°F (100°C) oven for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and leave meringues in oven until dried out, 3 to 4 hours. Lift a meringue off the baking sheet to test: the bottom should be dry.

Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.

Variations: Lemon Meringues: Add 1 tsp (5 ml) very finely grated fresh lemon zest with cornstarch and icing sugar. Chocolate Meringues: Add 1 tbsp (15 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder with cornstarch and icing sugar.

Makes about 2 dozen small meringues or 1 dozen nests

From All The Best Recipes by Jane Rodmell, Robert Rose Inc.