For a few weeks only, the UK-based supermarket chain Waitrose is offering what they're calling "bubbleberries" due to their distinctive taste. In botanical circles, they're known as musk strawberries; in Jane Austen's day, they were called hautboys.
Starting this month, and for a few weeks only, British grocery chain Waitrose is offering an heirloom fruit, musk strawberries, under the name “bubbleberries” because of their unusual flavor, which some say is just like American-style bubble gum and others describe as something of a cross between pineapple, raspberry and strawberry. Buyer Bikki Baggott says the small berries are certainly unique: “This is one of the most aromatic berries we have ever sold…[It] has an incredibly strong perfume which will take you straight back to your childhood.”
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What’s the Big Idea?
Known officially as Fragaria moschata, the musk strawberry’s salad days, so to speak, were in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was also called hautboy (from the French hautbois). Even Jane Austen made a point of including it in her novel Emma, where a character describes it as “infinitely superior—no comparison—the others hardly eatable.” Although more popular varieties of Fragaria took over some time ago, musk strawberries still grow wild in some European forests. They can also grow in gardens; seeds are available from several online retailers.