edible flowers petal perfect
For a James Beard House dinner, Bond used candied bronze
fennel flowers with a red wine/strawberry semifreddo with angel
food cake to great effect. His restaurant customers take note when
he accessorizes roasted squab or pheasant with candied flowers.
“It’s not something they see everywhere,” he says. “People realize
that it takes extra work and appreciate the effort.”
He’s especially enthused about how well the process works
with anise hyssop, basil, angelica and even frilly fennel fronds.
Inevitably, he adds, there’s a fair amount of breakage and blooms
that aren’t quite perfect. But instead of discarding all this, Bond
grinds it to a powder that he uses to make aromatic sugars for
leave it to the pros
Not every chef or restaurant can do what Bond does. But they
can purchase picture-perfect, shelf-stable blooms from one of the
three American companies that make and ship candied edible
flowers all over the country year-round.
Fresh Origins supplies four varieties of candied flowers to a
long list of fine-dining restaurants. “Chefs use them to ornament
both their savory dishes and desserts,” says David Sasuga, the
man behind Fresh Origins, San Marcos, Calif. “Our method is
a revival of an old practice, but we don’t use egg whites, so it’s
allergen-free.” Herb and flower crystals, a combination of dried
plants and sugar, are also available.
Karen Toocheck, founder of Crystallized Flower Company,
Willoughby, Ohio, offers pansies, violas, snapdragons, lavender,
miniature roses, mint leaves, strawberry blossoms, borage flowers, daylilies and Hawaiian orchids—the only item she sells that
she doesn’t grow herself. Her process gives them sparkle while
protecting their delicate shape. “Our daylilies are my pride and
joy,” she says. “Nobody else in the world candies them—just us.”
Clevelander Liz Wienclaw, a partner in the recently launched
Meringue Bake Shop and former pastry chef for Michael Symon
at Lola, is a fan. “I’ve thought of doing this myself, but I believe if
someone else is an expert, the better choice is to work with them.
“Karen’s products are gorgeous and elegant. She can put
together a customized collection with just the color profile I want.
People loved it when I decorated a white chocolate and passion
fruit Bavarian with her purple violets for a winter dessert.”
Toocheck sells crumbled petals as confetti that can decorate
the rim of a cocktail glass. Las Vegas-based Dress The Drink,
a company specializing in culinary and mixology garnishes, in
partnership with Sweetfields, a Jamul, Calif., grower of edible
flowers with patented processes for candying them, offers
something similar, creating distinctive flavored blends using the
sugared and ground blooms. Dress The Drink also has a glazed,
Top: a crystallized rose tops shortcake. middle: Sweet crystal snapdragons on
spinach salad. Bottom, left to right: Tulip ice cream bowls. mint crystals on
chocolate ganache pops.