Cardinal Wolsey's Strawberries and Cream

Did you know that the whole Strawberries and Cream tradition was apparently invented by Cardinal Wolsey? 

Well, Cardinal Wolsey's Cook. 

I didn't. 

While there's no concrete evidence that I can find (if you know of some, please let me know), Wolsey was said to have hosted a banquet at his home, Hampton Court Palace, which he started building in 1514. Henry VIII took over the palace in 1528 when Wolsey started to fall from grace, and so the banquet must have happened sometime between 1514 and 1528, where he was said to have served fresh strawberries and cream as a dessert. Apparently it's the first time the two were documented as being eaten together. 

Many modern accounts that refer to this legend have suggested that it must have been a huge relief to the cooks, who instead of spending hours creating marchpane, trifles or hot pies in the smoky, crowded Hampton Court kitchens, just had to place some strawberries on a plate and add a dollop of cream. And to be honest, I can't think of any better, more refreshing way to finish off a meal heavy with meats, fish, rich eggy sauces, fruits and spices. 

I decided to recreate this moment, because no one ever needs an excuse for strawberries and cream. 

You don't need a recipe for this - just pair up some freshly-washed strawberries with a dollop of clotted cream and serve. A small glass of a good, red wine - maybe a Merlot - would also go well here, and I imagine the Cardinal would have enjoyed a glass or two in the decadence of Hampton Court. I've chosen clotted cream particularly, because it was recorded as being eaten in Tavistock, Devon since the eleventh century, and also appears in a Tudor cookbook, The Huswife's Jewell. 

Liked this? You might also like: Anne Boleyn's Tudor Apple Pie, Henry VIII's Tudor Cheeseboard, Maids of Honour or these Tudor Stuffed Eggs. You can find more of my historic recipes, adapted for modern cooks, here

If you've made this dish, let me know how you got in the comments below, or, for bonus points, share to Instagram and tag me @lovebritishhistorypics and I'll share any I see!

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