(250 Grams) Approx. 11 flowers. - Australia
Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup-Please Play with Your Food
Imagine yourself lingering over a long dinner, a glass of champagne in your hands. You are perhaps a little tipsy, or maybe it's just the field of hibiscus
nearby that's making your head swim. You think they're beautiful, the flowers. You're also thinking the champagne is pretty darn beautiful
On a lark you pick an unopened bud and drop it in your champagne.
To the oohs and aahs of all your companions, the bubbles gently open the petals and cause it to “bloom”
as it floats down to the bottom of your champagne flute.
This is the story of the birth of a food phenom. Months after his champagne dunk
delighted friends and clients, Australian tour guide Lee Etherington
began to seriously pursue the idea of marketing the elegant, flowering edible. His test market, tourists from all over the world who had come to visit Australia's majestic Blue Mountains
, were already enthusiastically gobbling up native Australian foods. Riding the trend, Etherington began selling the blooming hibiscus flower
as one of many goodies from the land down under-and his business began to blossom.
In order to keep the buds in perfect condition, Etherington developed a preservative made of filtered water and natural cane sugar, which kept the blossom beautiful for up to 24 months. The syrup itself takes on the unique flavor of hibiscus, a lemony-floral taste
that is quite delicious on its own.
Now a completely new food product has emerged: edible flowers, packed into a jar and topped with sugar syrup. The flowers can be used as a show-stopping edible decoration, and the uniquely flavored syrup can be stirred into or drizzled over foods. What started out as a lark became a worldwide food trend.
The small, mom-and-pop-shop
business style that built Wild Hibiscus is still in play today, from the hand-selecting of the buds to the delicate placement of the buds into the jar. The manufacturing plant still resides in the tiny Village of Kurrajong, outside the Blue Mountains of Australia.
None of the labor has been mechanized or outsourced, making it a participant in another worldwide food trend-that of preserving a local economy by reviving its ancient food traditions-and creating new ones.