Say It With Flowers

Crystallized pansy

Flowers are making a big comeback in haute cuisine as food accents. They have been traditionally used as decoration and ingredients for special dishes in many cultures around the world, and in the West up to Elizabethan times. This practice is being revived in fine dining restaurants. Many types of edible flowers and plants, like crystallized rose petals, microgreens, flower crystals and candied flowers are used to give various dishes a special touch.

Uses for crystallized flowers
Many restaurants and especially fine dining establishments are accustomed to having flowers as table top decorations. But using flowers as food accents is a new trend, and one that is catching on quickly, in the world of haute cuisine. There are many uses for crystallized rose petals and other flower crystals in baking and food decoration. When it comes to using flowers as food decoration, the only limit is your imagination.

They can be used to provide a special finishing touch to cookies, cakes and desserts. They can dress up bar drinks, ice cream and sorbets. They can be frozen into ice cubes and used for an added touch of color and taste to salads. Vegetable flowers like squash and runner beans can provide the perfect finishing touch to a soup or casserole.

Food accents for fine dining
With all the possibilities, it’s no wonder that fine dining restaurants have embraced this new trend. When food presentation matters, nothing does the job quite like violet, tulip or peony petals gracing a fine plate of grilled salmon or lamb chops. According to experts, about a hundred types of common garden flowers can be used as food. This includes varieties that are both edible and have a good taste.

The fine dining or upscale sector of the restaurant industry accounts for about 10% of total U.S. restaurant earnings. This sector had grown by 3% in the part year; this amounts to thousands and even millions of new customers each years. Using flowers and microgreens as food accents are an easy and creative way for restaurateurs to stand out in this growing market.

Sources for speciality produce
Cooks and bakers planning to use flowers as food accents or ingredients should pay attention to the source of their flowers. Most gardens nowadays use chemicals and fertilizers on a scale that makes flowers inedible. You can’t just go out into your garden or out to the park to pick flowers for cuisine, or buy them at the florist’s shop. Even flowers growing wild should be handled with caution.

If you’re planning to use flowers in food decoration, it’s best to source them from speciality produce suppliers, who can guarantee that the flowers are safe to eat. Speciality growers will also have a range of microgreens, another food accent that is gaining increased popularity in fine dining establishments.

Finding crystallized rose petals in the sorbet or a tiny violet frozen into an ice cube is a delightful surprise for any diner. It’s an easy way take your food presentation up a few notches, while gaining a reputation as a skilled and creative cook.

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