Chef X Grower

The other side of the strawberry

The trade of a grower is similar to that of a chef. You want to get the very best of nature, with the utmost respect for the product. Grower Jan van den Elzen cultivates strawberries and takes pastry chef Maurits van der Vooren on a journey of flavour and cultivation, varieties and ripeness.

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More choice

Jan van den Elzen declares his love for strawberries: ‘I grow strawberries because it is a product that makes everyone happy. ‘When I started 25 years ago, only one strawberry variety was available in the Netherlands: the Elsanta. But nowadays Prestige is constantly developing and testing new varieties. Today, many other strawberry varieties are available. We also grow Eve’s Delight, Malling Centenary, Clery and Favori strawberries. Each with their own distinct flavour and quality. This leaves professionals in the kitchen with more choice.’

Pickling and frying

As a chef, Van der Vooren always seeks surprises. His eyes are feasting on the greenhouses of Van den Elzen. ‘What do you think of green strawberries? When harvested early, they are firmer and can be pickled or even fried. Great ways of showing guests another side of strawberries.’ Van den Elzen immediately adds his own expertise. ‘You can also fry more ripened strawberries. I sometimes make strawberry-pepper sauce to go with game, and a type of caprese with strawberries, mozzarella and basil. It works very well. And have you ever tasted the runners of the plant?’ ‘Slightly bitter. Pretty interesting’, tastes the pastry chef.

Recipe Strawberry Pastry