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30 Jun 2021
It’s match day! And we couldn’t be happier to have Wimbledon back on our screens after Covid stopped play last summer. No matter who you’re routing for, there’s one thing all tennis fans have in common and that’s enjoying the nation's favourite summertime snack of strawberries and cream.
A winning combination, strawberries and cream have been a Wimbledon tradition since the tournament started back in 1877. After 144 years of picking strawberries, there are some surprising facts to know about this long-enjoyed dessert.
Fun fact, strawberries aren’t actually berries. We know, it blew our mind too! To be a berry, a fleshy fruit must be produced from a single seed. Strawberries sport their many seeds on the outside (each seed being a separate fruit) and so officially, they’re not a member of the berry club! Instead, they’re part of the rose family. Legend has it that if you split a double strawberry in half and share it with someone, you’ll soon fall in love! Plus, thanks to their fruity acids strawberries have been known to help whiten your teeth and we’re all for that.
The history behind the delicious pairing of strawberries with cream is a bit hazy. It’s thought that strawberries and cream were first served together in 1509, at a banquet during Henry VII’s reign, by Cardinal Thomas Wosley, who was the King’s right-hand man. At this time, milk and cream were the food of the commoners, so it's surprising that dairy products would have been served as an ‘upper class’ or Royal dessert. There’s some mystery as to why the head chef took the gamble to serve cream to the King’s court alongside a handful of strawberries. Researchers have put this down to it being an easy dessert to serve to 600+ guests but it doesn’t hurt that it’s a delicious combo. Interestingly, Wosley’s Palace had a tennis court where staff also served strawberries and cream to spectators. So this could be why we associate Wimbledon with the dish.
You’ll only be served the very best strawberries and cream at Wimbledon and it certainly helps that British strawberries are at their seasonal peak in July. Match-day strawberries are picked at 4am, collected from the packing plant at 9am and delivered to the Club to be enjoyed by guests the very same day. You can’t get much fresher than that! 191,930 portions of these fresh and delicious strawberries were served during the tournament of 2019. That is 28,000kgs of strawberries consumed with an average of 10,000 litres of cream.
Of course, if you’re not watching the tournament from Wimbledon you can still enjoy the perfect strawberries and cream as we are giving away 500 free Marks and Spencer’s £5 e-gift cards for you to treat yourself to the dessert. The e-gift cards are up for grabs between 28th of June and the 11th of July 2021. Get yours today. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!