It's hard to imagine why the apple is the "forbidden fruit" of lore, when the voluptuous and fragile strawberry is so much more tempting. Each winter our will power is stretched to the max, as the luscious red fruits become stars in a galaxy of creative efforts by chefs across China. The wild strawberry fruit was cited in ancient Roman literature for its medicinal use. The French began taking the strawberry from the forest to their gardens for harvest in the 14th century; French horticulturists first bred the modern garden strawberry in Brittany in the 1750s, and the hybrid has made its sweet, sweet mark all over the world.
January has been a good month to leave the cold outside and snuggle up to a warm cup of tea and a sweet spread of strawberry dishes at Opus Lounge in Four Seasons Beijing. At the hotel's month-long Strawberry Afternoon Tea, which ends on Sunday, the ripest, sweetest berries from China's south - Zhejiang, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces - appear in a buffet of succulent pastries and creative dishes to pair with some of the world's finest brews. 248 yuan ($38) per person plus 15 percent service charge.
3 pm-5 pm through January. Four Seasons Hotel Beijing, 48 Liangmaqiao Road, Chaoyang district. 010-5695-8888.