Here two great ways to flatter the just-in local rhubarb and strawberries and all of the summer fruits to come. Vermont Creamery, whose crème fraîche we’ve relied on for years, now has a fantastic bean-flecked vanilla version. It’s as thick and luscious as the original but its characteristic tang is mellowed with just the right amount of sweetness and a clean, pure vanilla flavor. We love it on apple-rhubarb crisp and in strawberry tarts instead of pastry cream. I just discovered that it makes an awesome frosting for this carrot cake, and for chocolate cupcakes made with this cake recipe that I’ve used for years
Both baked treats would also be great with the oh-so-smart vanilla fleur de sel ice cream from High Road Ice Cream. The salt showcases the vanilla flavor in the very best way, just as it does with chocolate and caramel. I can’t see ever going back to plain vanilla.