by Alison Charbonneau
Many of my favorite drinks include raspberries. Can’t you just picture a pinky-gold hued bubbly glass of champagne with a few raspberries floating within? Champagne and raspberries provide a light and refreshing contrast in the heavy mid-summer heat.
Then there’s my personal addiction, coffee. While champagne is tantalizing and bubbly, delicate in nature and versatile in its flavor pairings; coffee is aromatic, full-bodied and can be enjoyed any time of day in many different ways. Raspberries pair extremely well with both and embody many of these qualities as well.
Look for raspberries that are plump, dry, well shaped and uniformly coloured.
Raspberries can be enjoyed with just about anything and at any time of day. In the morning, mix them into a smoothie or spread raspberry jam on toast, grab a handful as a quick snack in the afternoon and, after dinner, enjoy a piece raspberry pie.
Raspberries are adaptable to any mood; Enjoy them casually sprinkled on top of ice cream, baked into a scone with your favorite cup of tea or elevated in a layered trifle.
Of all berries, the raspberry is by far the most delicate and perishable. When the fruit is ripe, it turns a bright deep red and falls easily off the vine. It’s extremely delicate nature lends itself to being crushed when picked; Adding in the thorns that cover the plant itself, one needs to be very careful when harvesting. The berry’s meatiness can also make them heavy and, if packed into large full containers, the raspberries can crush under the weight of the ones on top. This is why they are usually packed in smaller, shallow containers. Raspberries are also very sensitive to moisture and can mold quickly. They’re best when harvested late in the morning after the berries warm up with the sun and the dew has evaporated. With this in mind, there is no question that the freshest raspberries are by far the best.
And, as I think about raspberries and my favorite drinks, it occurs to me that freshness is the key to them all. In our house, we grind our coffee fresh every morning; It’s just better that way.
Selena Biermans of Ashanti Coffee tells me that if you are looking for a perfect coffee to go with your raspberry dessert to try a dark roast. “Coffee and raspberries go great together” she says, “the citrus notes of Ashanti coffee pair well with the tangy sweetness of the raspberry”
Selena explains that a dark roast coffee is roasted longer and hotter than a medium roast and the longer roasting time develops a bolder flavor. “The notes of chocolate and blood orange in Ashanti’s dark roast make it the ideal roast to pair with raspberries.”
If the midsummer heat is steering you in a cooler direction, Ashanti has you covered; They have more refreshing options such as iced lattes and iced cappuccinos. For a more lavish treat, you can try one of their raspberry white chocolate frappuccinos (recipe below).
Whether it be a fancy glass of bubbly, a robust cup of coffee, or your favorite summer drink, raise a glass and enjoy all that raspberry season has to offer – cheers!
Raspberry White Chocolate Frappuccino
2 cups ice
2 ounces espresso or (dark brewed coffee)
1 ounce fresh raspberry coulis
1 ounce white chocolate syrup or sauce
Combine all ingredients in the blender, blend until smooth. Drizzle raspberry coulis into glass then pour in your frappuccino mix. Top with whipped cream. Drizzle with more raspberry coulis and chocolate sauce (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1lb fresh raspberries or 1 (12 ounce) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves completely, about 5 minutes. Put the raspberries and the sugar syrup in a blender and puree. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds . Let cool. The sauce keeps well , tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and freezes perfectly for several months.
photos by Jill Schildroth Photography
recipe by Ashanti Coffee