The trend for eating wild foliage and foraging fresh, local petals has become somewhat of a big thing in California, particularly in the Napa Valley where the focus on the good life and healthy living is so strong. Artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower are all commonly grown in in the golden state, but did you know that they are in fact immature flowers? You may not think you’ve jumped on the bandwagon of edible cool, but actually been on it for years.
Chef Kostow at Meadowood often features flowering herbs and seasonal blossoms on his plates, all of which have been sourced from the resort herb gardens. Nothing gets fresher or more local than that. He reassures us, too, that the flowers aren’t just for decoration; eat them and you’ll find they pack a punch with flavor, adding another dimension to each of the dishes. Trust us. Pansies, marigold, hibiscus, all can be found in his cooking and all are incredible.
If you’re feeling creative and want to try your hand at fashioning a seriously beautiful dish, California-style, then head to Napa Valley Master Gardeners to do a workstore. You’ll learn everything about the different flowers, the unique flavors and how you can use them; from distilling and candying to crystalising and garnishing, you’ll soon realize a lot can be done with these little flourishes.
Edible flowers… beautiful to look at and seriously tasty. Even if the dish you’re eating isn’t necessarily ordinary, a few colorful buds can make it extraordinary.