Locally, I'm enamored by the strawberries from Last Resort Farm and the blueberries from Adam's Berry Farm (now in their new Charlotte location!). But my true love comes from farther afield — the dark, sweet cherry of the Pacific Northwest.
I've loved cherries since I was little. My mom recalls buying several pounds of the fruit when I was a teen and coming into the kitchen to find me sitting beside an empty bag and a heaping bowl of pits.
Yesterday I walked into the grocery store and was confronted with a glistening display of beautiful cherries — for $1.99 a pound! I couldn't resist buying a whole mess of them.
My favorite way to eat cherries is to aimlessly pop them in my mouth as is, but I also like incorporating them into salads and desserts. Since it was too hot to turn on the oven yesterday, I opted for a frothy, blended drink that combines chocolate, cherries and almond. It's perfect as a cold dessert that's a little lighter than ice cream or as a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up.
My 7-year-old daughter, Mira, thought the concoction tasted like a cold hot chocolate. To me, it was simply delicious.
Cherry-Chocolate Summer Sipper
1 cup vanilla almond milk (I'm particular to Califia Farms, which you can get at Healthy Living)
12 dark cherries, pitted
1 tablespoon good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon almond butter
a splash of maple syrup (optional)
4-6 ice cubes
Combine ingredients in a blender. Blend until frothy. Sip away!