Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Von Blythen, flower liqueurs, syrups and condiments to the UK

From German delegates at the IFE

An unusual lifestyle addition to foods, Edible flowers and flower products by Martina Kabitzsch’s company Von Blythen (old German for from flowers) visited London and the IFE.

“Say it with flowers” takes on a whole new meaning when, in addition to appreciating their visual beauty and scent, you can also taste their delicate and often unusual flavours.

Ever since Martina Kabitzsch stumbled across an old recipe book that showed her how to produce a flower based liqueur, she has researched and expanded the use of flowers in food as part of an enriched lifestyle.

From founding Von Blythen in 2004, she has researched and developed flower based recipes, from liqueurs, syrups to preserves and condiments. Martina also runs courses and is an author in her own right, as a recognised expert in this area.

Von Blythen visited the UK and the International Food and Drink Exhibition (IFE) 2011 at Excel in March and I accompanied Martina to the first two meetings to provide language support if needed.

We did not have to worry as once Martina was in flow, she was able to get her message across with a smile. Our second meeting, at the German Pavillion in the IFE, was a revelation as I also had a chance to taste some of the different samples that she had brought along.

Quite often the flavours were delicate and not immediately apparent, then a subtle lingering taste would emerge, prolonging the flavour sensation of the particular food.

Mark Dodsworth took over the accompaniment for Von Blythen as I concentrated on our other company, Der Pommeraner, and I believe that Martina returned to Germany with a number of interested leads and ideas how to come back in the future.

Martina did leave me a signed copy of her book “Blütenmenüs”(“Flower menus”, currently still in German, but look out for an English edition in the near future).

Being a natural experimenter, I could not resist trying out some of the ideas with some of the edible Spring flowers emerging. Do note that not all flowers are edible, daffodils for example are not! Here are two useful links – edible flowers, flowers and plants to avoid.

Sugaring the small spring violets from the Garden did not really work – then again, I could not detect any scent on them. The big success was from the Magnolia tree in a neighbour’s garden.

Having gained permission to ravish the Magnolia tree of three or four flowers, I followed Martina’s instructions to detach and lightly paint the individual petals with eggwhite and then coat in caster sugar. The petals were left in a warm kitchen to dry for two days. About two thirds of the petals did go sugar crystal hard. Biting into the crisp petal released a perfumed flavour in the mouth.

Eating a single petal was a pleasant and repeatedly surprising experience, two at one go was too much. So over the next day, the stock of crystalised petals diminished one by one.

When our apple tree began to bloom, I thought I would try t make some apple flower syrup. This turned out a delicate shade of clear green and has a very subtle flavour, not of apple, indescribable, but definitely an improvement on a simple sugar syrup on its own.

For more information about flower derived products, Martina Kabitzsch and Von Blythen, visit http://www.manufaktur-von-blythen.de/blythen/index/

Related Articles:
Der Pommeraner
Two German Companies visit the IFE


Part of the VHP Lebensmittelwirtschaft 2010
Supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
Project Management by Europartnerships Ltd
in cooperation with Milton Contact Ltd (UK)
And Come Across (DE)

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