Strawberry Minestrone and Lillet — Minestrone de fraises au Lillet

Lillet French Bordeaux

Strawberry Minestrone and Lillet

Minestrone à ma façon

Minestrone in a sweet dessert? Why not?

L’apéritif is a well observed, celebrated time in the French cultural life. We love our apéritif. You are often invited to people’s house to share a drink with amuse-bouches and hors d’oeuvres before a meal, lunch or dinner, and this is commonly referred to “prendre l’apéritif“. Or short l’apéro (in case you heard this word and had no clue what it was).

-Venez prendre l’apéro avec nous! (Come to our house to have a drink)
-Avec plaisir (We would love to)

And so French people spent hours à prendre l’apéro, at people’s house or commonly in bistros , PMU, or bars. In my home village, le bistro was always full of its regular customers who came every day to have their apéro (in France, bistros are places where people drink. Sometimes there is food, but the point is to go to the bistro to have a drink). If you happen to be in the South of France where the sun always shines (because it does, doesn’t it?) you can envision lots of cute and quaint villages where locals take l’apéro en jouant à la pétanque (les boules), outside on the place du village (village square). I would actually be curious to know if anyone has ever run statistics as to finding out how much time is spent à prendre l’apéro. After all, nowadays, there are statistics about any possible thing. I do know that in my family, l’apéro is quite a well-observed time and I have seen many people come to our house for that sole purpose.

Now of course, the word apéritif exists in the English language, and I am certainly not teaching you anything here, as you already knew what it was I am sure.


    So what is the point you are thinking?

    Did you know Lillet?


If so, do you, like me, love Lillet?
Some people say that it is a girl’s drink, and the truth is that I am a girl and I am very fond of it! So they might be right. But maybe not. And it does not make any difference because I think that, in case you do not know the drink, you should definitely try it.


Lillet is an apéritif from Bordeaux, which exists in two flavours.

White Lillet = golden colour, shimmery, floral nose, honey, candied orange, pine resin, lime, fresh mint, distinct taste, generous, intense, aromatic long.

Red Lillet = ruby colour, raspberry nose, blackberry, cherry, vanilla, cinnamom, cardamom, ginger, powerful palate, aromatic, solid.

I particularly like the white one, as opposed to the red. Served chilled, on the rocks with a slice of lemon or orange, some people also drink it with ginger and fresh mint.

To participate in the Sugar High Friday event organized by Lick the Spoon, I decided to make a dessert using Lillet.
Very fresh and simple, just seasonal for the coming days. I found the recipe in Cuisine et Vins de France, and was very pleased with it.

Strawberry Minestrone and Lillet

You need:
(for 4 people)

  • 600 g strawberries
  • 50 cl Lillet
  • 250 g fresh ricotta
  • 20 cl cold heavy whipping cream
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • A few basil or mint leaves


  • Crush the cardamom pods and put them in a pot with the Lillet.
  • Bring to a boil and then immediately remove from the heat.
  • Cover and let infuse for 15 mns.
  • Remove the pods by filtering the syrup and let cool down.
  • Wash the strawberries and slice them.
  • Whip the cream until you have chantilly (add the sugar just before it gets firm).
  • Add the essence of vanilla.
  • Carefully fold in the ricotta cheese.
  • Place in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Take bowls and split the strawberries between the servings.
  • Pour some cold Lillet syrup around.
  • Then in the middle, add a spoon of cream/ricotta (use two spoons or an ice-cream spoon to make a nice oval shape).
  • Add basil or mint leaves and serve.


Posted in Dessert, French Inspired, Fruit


  1. Beautiful dessert, Bea!

    I have recently discovered white Lillet, which I agree makes a delightful aperitif. I can imagine how lovely this cardamom-laced Lillet syrup would be, particularly when paired with some beautiful strawberries (and maybe some langues de chats on the side). Delicious!

  2. I have never heard of Lillet but it sounds really nice, think I’ll see if I can pick up a bottle tomorrow and try your recipe!

  3. I do know and love white Lillet, but had pretty much forgotten about it! I’ll have to pick up a bottle again.

    As an American, I used to get annoyed at how much time went into apéritifs, but now I go with the flow!

    Your dessert looks great, BTW.

  4. I usually put some Lillet in my strawberry soup and I think it’s a fabulous association. But maybe I’m not that objective ’cause, as you said, I’m just a girl… with a sweet tooth ! (the cardamom touch is such a great idea with the Lillet !)

  5. this is such a beautiful dessert. it sounds wonderfrul… i am going to have to find some Lillet now! fabulous photos and beautiful presentation!

  6. Le lillet un véritable bonheur pour moi, l’éternel souvenir de mes années étudiantes et festives à bordeaux. Pour l’apéro, comme tu le précises si justement grande tradition française, chez moi le plus souvent copieux pour zapper l’entrée, je te conseille d’essayer le lillet avec du schweppes, bien frais c’est délicieux (1/4 de lillet blanc pour 3/4 de schweppes). Je n’avais jamais pensé à l’utiliser en desser c’est une bonne idée.

  7. Hi Bea!

    You always teach me something new! I’d never head of Lillet but now that you have explained it I must go in search of some. It sounds so fresh and lovely … just like we girls …


    I love your strawberry “minestrone”. How delightful! This is a wonderful contribution for SHF #18 my friend!!!

    Bonne Journee et bon weekend!

  8. Ah, l’apéro c’est sacré dans le Sud de la France, surtout l’été, il commence à 5 heures (pm) et se termine vers 1 heure (am), d’apéro il s’est transformé en repas …
    A Paris, l’apéro est beaucoup chic qu’à Marseille (et je tiens à préciser que je suis du Sud) on appelle cela un slunch, c’est plus chic … Dans le 6è où je vis, il y a plein de bar, pub, bar à tapas …. qui proposent des happy hours … tous les soirs de la semaine …

  9. Ah, l’apéro… Je suis bien d’accord avec Fabienne… Ca me manque ici (quoique pendant que je t’écris ce commentaire je sirote un bon petit verre de blanc…
    Et moi aussi j’adore le Lillet, fille que je suis ! Ce dessert est superbe, j’adore l’idée du “minestrone” !

  10. Now I’ve never heard of Lillet before so you’ve taught me something new today! I adore the apertivo hour, or aperitif as you say. The first thing I learned to drink in France was Pernod… love that stuff! Another liqueur that I like is Chambord, but I’ve never seen it in France although I can find it here in Hawaii!

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