Dammit. They’re amazing.
A word on trend fruit: I am someone who thinks trend fruit is nonsense but simultaneously cannot contain myself from purchasing it. If you too are suffering from such an affliction, this is for you. We’ve bought cotton candy grapes, we’ve eaten that weird stuff that makes lemons taste sweet, the term “champagne mango” excites us. We fall for fruit branding, is what I’m saying. Rosé strawberries fall very much into our wheelhouse. I want to tell you they’re a trap, but I can’t.
A bit of backstory: I have an injured foot. Plantar fasciitis is a cruel mistress. As I’m currently unable to walk really, I had to hop on the ol’ Fresh Direct and hope there was a delivery slot available to me this week. I don’t want you thinking these berries are something I picked up at my local market, I need you to know that this week was slightly fancy due to my inability to ingress and egress my own home. Thankfully, there aren’t that many people in Brooklyn who also wake before sunrise, so I claimed a 6-9AM timeframe without incident. As I filled my cart with practical things likes veggies, canned goods, and a lovely Reisling, I spotted them: Rosé strawberries.
First of all: bullshit. Strawberries do not taste like rosé, strawberries taste like strawberries. Also, you’re not fooling me with your pale fruits. These are simply strawberries that haven’t ripened yet! How dare you! The food companies of the world must take me for a simpleton.
And yet…they called to me. They whispered to me from behind their pale pink exterior. What’s $3.99? Well worth the risk if these berries do indeed taste like something other than what they’ve tasted like my entire life. I’ve paid far more for far worse experiences, let’s have a go. Also, I love strawberries! This is a key factor in my decision-making process. I love most red fruit, now that I think about it. This very same grocery delivery also included two pounds of boring-ass strawberries for varies baking and snacking endeavors I intend to partake in post-haste. As I child, there was one week of my life where I was forbidden to eat strawberries, as my parents thought that I might have an allergy. Thank sweet heaven I didn’t, though the source of that rash was never found.
Against my better judgment and knowing full well if my grandmother was alive she’d have had a thing or two to say, I added a container of rosé strawberries to my cart. They arrived this morning. And oh my god.
First, they do not taste like rosé, which pleases me. Rosé is a sham, fight me. Rosé is what you drink in summer before you know what an Aperol Spritz is. Rosé is an overly sweet, and still somehow tasteless wine that’s really only getting the attention it’s received in the last five years or so because it’s fucking pink. Don’t waste your time and money on rosé, it is a trick. I get why these berries stole its name, as there is a kind of kick to them that mimics a gently alcoholic flavor, and people will buy “rosé” anything like lemmings, but that’s where the similarities end.
So what do these berries taste like? Friend, I don’t know, but heaven is a good guess. They’re somehow sweet and tart at the same time, they’re light, juicy, and if I may, they taste like hope. Hope that summer is not lost, it’s simply hibernating inside the colorless flesh of some trendy fruit. The only reason I didn’t eat the whole container in one sitting is that I wanted to pause to tell you about them. They are, without question, simply delicious.
Is it possible that they really are just unripe strawberries? Yes. It is also possible that they’re some fancifully engineered innovation formulated to mimic the flavor of mild wine? Also yes. In truth I don’t have a good handle on what’s happening, all I know is that I’m glad I fell for whatever is happening here. My pride is diminished, but my fridge is full.
In sum, if you want to try rosé strawberries, try rosé strawberries. If for no other reason than you’ve never tasted fruit like this before, and the list of experiences we’ll be treated to during COVID Bummer Summer are certain to be few and far between. Did we fall for what is likely to be a clever marketing tactic? Yes. But I’m telling you, one bite in to these pale pink gems, and you won’t mind a bit.
Shani Silver is a humor essayist and podcaster based in Brooklyn who writes on Medium, a lot.