Monday, October 13, 2008

More Reasons to Move to France

Well, I finally ordered several items from the aforementioned Confiserie Florian. They have an amazing selection of flower items and I was delighted with everything that I got. First, there were rose and violet gels. They are little soft gel square candies covered in sugar. Both have flower petals in them and and nice flavor. I also got white chocolate rose and white chocolate violet bars. The chocolate is rich and flavorful and both have a lot of candied flowers in them. Lastly, I got some calissons: almond shaped candies with a firm paste-like consistency. They are made with melon and are flavored with rose or violet and coated with a rose or violet icing. In a previous order, I got some crystalized petals from them. It was a nice assortment of roses, violets, verbana, and mimosa. The nice thing about these petals was that they were bigger than most others.

In domestic flower food news, I ordered some very nice lavender-vanilla sugar from the Spice Barn. It's great on French Toast and I imagine that it would be great on lavender scones or shortbread.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jasmine Flavoring; Or, the Joys of the Indian Market

One of the things I love about the SF Bay Area is the large Indian community. I mean, I LOVE Indian food and up there there are restaurants a-plenty. This also means there are a lot of Indian grocery stores...and flowery foods!

On my last trip up north I stopped by a local Indian market near my parents' house. Inside I spied rose ice cream, rose spread (like jam), rose syrup, wild violet syrup from Pakistan (egads, I almost bought this one but I still have most of a bottle of Monin's violet syrup in the fridge!), Turkish Delight (rose and lemon), some spectacular ground rose petal and sugar concoction AND this little bottle of jasmine flavoring.

I exercised a considerable amount of self control when presented with so many pretty and flowery things but I allowed myself this one, as I do not have any jasmine-related items at home. I haven't tried this yet...perhaps a simply little pavlova with rose-flavored meringue topped with jasmine whipped cream would be a good test.

Nostalgic Violet + Green Fairy Treats

Violet is probably my favorite flower flavor. During my last trip to Paris I stumbled upon the most amazing and beautiful supermarket. The name escapes me but it wasn't too far from the Eiffel Tower and there was a large department store next door. (If that rings a bell for anyone.) Anyway, it was so very French and gourmet and had a large assortment of flower-flavored candy, including some pretty, pastel-y marshmallows. I chose violet, of course. Back home, I tried to find them here (and online) but to no avail.

But here it is! Years later, picked up on a post-brunch walk last weekend. (I bought two: ate one, savoring the other. I'm sure it won't last!) Never did I think I would find them here in the states.

The Soubeyran website has an online shop now although it's not clear to me if this is for retail customers and whether or not they ship to the U.S. They have an assortment pack (that includes violet) or you can buy a box of orange blossom! (Which I'll have to try next time.)

Leone, an Italian confectionery company, creates little pastilles that you might find at your local gourmet market or coffee shop. I've blogged about the violet before. Recently I spotted this one, Absinth(e), with a lovely Art Nouveau design. I haven't tried it yet..the packing is too pretty to tear.

Oh, and apparently they come in orange blossom too!