Spring, a season of light, good weather and, above all flowers, lots of flowers. Parks, gardens, balconies and terraces are filled with colour and joy, accompanying our every step with their incredible fragrances.
But, spring is not only a time to enjoy aromas and colours … How about tasting it? Yes, you heard it right, TASTE. Let your palate delight in exquisite delicacies and immerse yourself in a new world of gastronomic possibilities. Flowers are an integral part of the experience, not only to decorate the table, but also as a true delight for the senses. Flowers add colour, texture, flavour and of course, an exotic and exclusive touch to the dishes.
You may think this is nouvelle cuisine gone crazy but the use of flowers dates back many centuries. In times of the Roman Empire, flowers were already part of the culinary tradition: mallow salads, aromas of violets, sauces of safflower … And although with the passing of time it has been somewhat forgotten, strange as it may seem, it is a custom which is gaining popularity in avante-garde cuisine.
In addition to colour and fragrance, flowers are also a rich source of vitamins, minerals,proteins, fats, starches and amino acids all very beneficial for the organism.
However, we must pay special attention to identify the most suitable edible options. It is important to know that only the petals can be eaten, never the stem, the leaves or the pistils. Remember that you can’t simply buy flowers from the florist and that’s it. The flowers that you can eat must be identified for food use, to ensure they are free of pesticides and fertilizers. In Barcelona you can find them in the Boquería Market and in Madrid you can find them in MercaMadrid. You can of course get in touch with plant suppliers that specialise in the cultivation of flowers suitable for consumption and place your order. Or if you are a more daring and green-fingered, flower-lover, you can plant your own little flower garden and see how they taste… First class cuisine, from the garden to the table.
When cooking with flowers, it is very important to know the flavour that they will give to the dish. For this it is advisable to test the flower and assess the intensity that they can give the dish. There are innumerable flowers that are used in the kitchen, from rose petals, magnolia, jasmine, orange blossom, common mallow, marjoram, violets, lemon verbena… They are excellent additives for salads and especially complement the sweet flavours in oils, vinaigrettes and sauces.
In Eastern countries, rose, orange or lemon flowers have been used as an essential condiment in sweets and jams. In the Mediterranean, the culinary use of pumpkin and zucchini flowers as garnishes is noteworthy and Mexican gastronomy has always stood out for its floral delicies.
So now you that you know, go ahead and make flowers a delight in your dishes, discover new flavours if you haven’t already done so. In many of the restaurants in our hotel network you are able to savour this novel gastronomic experience.