A few weeks ago I headed to Metzger Bar & Butchery for dinner. As always, the meal included several memorable courses (and maybe two extra sides of spaetzle). But the strawberry tarte we had for dessert lingers most in my memory. Traditional rich custard was complemented by ripe, sweet strawberries and the earthy thyme shortbread, elderflower, and pink peppercorns. I often associate thyme with savory dishes. Here the addition of organic thyme from Shenandoah Growers in Harrisonburg, Virginia, to the sweeter flavors was unexpected and interesting, creating a fresh flavor combination.
Walmart Partners with Chefs Across America
The tarte was on Metzger’s menu as part of a new program Walmart has created called “Rediscovering America.” Five chefs recognized by the James Beard Foundation as Best Chef Semifinalists, along with five farms across the United States are participating to highlight the importance of fresh, affordable locally grown produce and the farm-to-table movement. Chef Brittany Anderson from Metzger is one of the chefs involved.
The chefs have been featuring fresh, affordable and locally grown produce from Walmart in their restaurants over the summer. They are also being filmed for a documentary series.
My Take on Strawberries and Thyme
With Labor Day just having passed and kids going back to school, I know many people are jumping into Fall flavors. On the contrary, I plan on hanging onto summer for as long as I can. This past weekend before heading to the Outer Banks for one more beach trip, I whipped up a Strawberry-Thyme Simple Syrup. The syrup was made with the same Shenandoah Growers organic thyme. You can find it at Walmart. I then used the syrup to concoct two easy cocktails. Both are ideal if you’re looking to hang onto those last bright flavors of summer like me.
Strawberry-Thyme Simple Syrup
2 cups sliced strawberries
½ cup powdered sugar
2 ½ cups water
4 sprigs Shenandoah Growers organic thyme available at Walmart
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high head and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add strawberries and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until strawberries lose their color and start to fall apart, around 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Press the berries to remove any last juices (I used a potato masher for this). Strain syrup and keep in airtight container.
Sweet, citrusy and slightly herbal, this cocktail is a summer punch on steroids. Since it is Virginia Spirits Month, I made mine with Richmond-based Commonwealth Gin. The thyme combines with the botanicals in the gin for a fresh flavor, then the lime and strawberry add refreshing and sweet notes.
1 ½ oz. gin
1 ½ oz. Strawberry-Thyme Simple Syrup
2 lime wedges
Additional strawberries, lime wedges and Shenandoah Farms Organic thyme sprigs for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add gin and syrup. Squeeze lime slices into shaker to extract juice, then add slices to shaker as well. Close and shake until frosty cold. Add fresh ice to a glass. Strain drink over glass. Garnish with strawberry, lime wedge and thyme sprig.
Step aside mimosa. This bubbly beverage is floral and fruity with the distinctive savory, herbal note from the thyme. Serve it at your next lunch or brunch gathering and your guests will go crazy. It’s easy to make and you don’t need to worry about precision.
3 parts sparkling wine
1 part Strawberry-Thyme Simple Syrup
Fill a champagne flute with ice. Add wine and syrup. Enjoy!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Walmart. The opinions and text are all mine.