Even if one can get strawberries almost all year round, the best ones, the most enjoyable are those that have that spring savour, those that give a start kick to the Pimm’s season. No Pimm’s in France! (except for the stuff brought back from a spring trip to London; they always have fantastic deals at airports!). Strawberries enter the composition of lovely traditional cakes such as le fraisier and la charlotte aux fraises. It is sometimes said that the latter was invented around year 1800 by the french chef Antonin Carême for the Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III from the United Kingdom.
This tempting and appealing little fruit, appears surprisingly in French expressions whereby the general meaning isn’t as nice as the berry itself: ramener sa fraise and sucrer les fraises.
Ramener sa fraise (literally: to reel in your strawberry) is a slang expression in which fraise refers to ones face or head and it applies to someone who interferes in a discussion without being invited to do so; more generally it means to growl, to grouch. The equivalent in English seems to be to stick your oar in.
Sucrer les fraises (to sugar the strawberries) refers to the movement your hand does when you actually pour sugar on strawberries, thus meaning to have shaky hands. It is also used to say that you are getting older, if not even senile. Not very glamorous!
But before you sucrez les fraises, you might go for the much more adventurous and slightly kinky expression aller aux fraises. As wild strawberries are normally to be found in hidden places or forests, quand vous allez aux fraises, you actually look for a quiet place to go for a roll in the hay. The quite colloquial expression sometimes also means that you are just walking around without aim. And finally, it is also said to someone whose trousers are too short; maybe because you should roll your trousers up when you pick strawberries.
In aller aux fraises, the little word aux results from the contraction of the plural definite article (les) and the preposition à (to, as in going to): à + les = aux. In singular it would be the form au (à + le).
Aller (to go) is the only verb finishing by -er and not belonging to the first group. It is that irregular that it is put in third group.
Il / elle / on va
Ils / elles vont
Il / elle / on ira
Ils / elles iront