Too Pretty to Eat, too Tasty Not to


Edible crystallized rose petals

For some people, a meal isn’t just about the taste of the food or the necessary function of eating for nutrients. Some diners appreciate the beauty of a dish, and some chefs consider themselves artists; they see their food as original creations or works of art. That is, after all, why they call it the “Culinary Arts”. Even children, without realizing it, can appreciate a thoughtfully put together food plating or presentation. Studies show that kids prefer to see 6 food colors and 7 different food components on their plate at a time. Creating a dish that is visually appealing can change the way a person thinks about, and even tastes, a dish.

One technique that is growing in popularity is the use of microgreens to enhance the presentation of a meal. Microgreens such as arugula, cilantro, amaranth, radish, mustard seed, chard, fennel, and others add more to a dish than just color and sophistication. They also add a hint of delicious flavor that won’t overpower the food they garnish. These lovely and delicious greens have been around for nearly 30 years, and are making their way into the fine dining industry.

The most aesthetically pleasing variety of microgreens is the edible flower. There are approximately 100 types of common garden flowers that are edible, beautiful, and tasteful. Even some vegetables can be considered edible flowers! Edible flowers have been gaining popularity among upscale restaurants, garnishing dishes and drinks in order to catch the eye of the guest and add another level of sensory awareness to the dining experience. Cocktails and desserts act as a wonderful canvas for the beauty of the edible flower, as well. Popular types of edible flowers include basil blossoms, lavender flowers, chive flowers, mint blossoms, carnation petals, daylilies, and squash blossoms.

Candied flowers, also known as crystallized flowers, add a touch more sweetness to a dessert or cocktail, or even a savory entree. These flowers are dried to preserve their natural beauty, and sugar coated to enhance the flavor. If well preserved, these lovely adornments can last up to 6 months. Most commonly candied are pansies, roses, and violas.

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