When I read about Anne's father's recipe for elderflower cordial in her beautiful blog from Sweden, I was reminded of my thwarted attempt to acquire some of that fine beverage for myself. I was also saddened to realize that my own pretty little variant cut-leaf elderberry bush has a long way to go before it can produce the necessary 30 good sized flower heads.
I got a bee in my bonnet (funny old expression, which seems somehow apropos) about elderflower cordial this spring. I was visiting my cousin in England, and had we stopped to see Wells Cathedral on the way back to Brighton from Bristol, where we had been visiting friends. We ate in the refectory at the cathedral, which was a little vegetarian lunch room, with very nice soups and sandwiches featuring local produce. In the cafeteria line, I picked up an interesting looking bottled drink.
It turned out to be elderflower cordial, which I really liked. My companions were amused that it seemed exotic to me, and informed me that I could easily find some elderflower concentrate, and make my own. This was my plan. Somehow, though, it didn't work out. I kept my eyes open for it while shopping, but when it came time to go home, I hadn't found any.
Once I was back in Pittsburgh, the few mail order sources seemed alarmingly expensive and/or weirdly medicinal. I googled "elderflower cordial" and was pretty amused myself to find that the very first site listed was the blog of my own, one and only daughter. I was more than a little surprised, since we hadn't discussed this item at all. When I recovered , I read on and saw that she found some concentrate at the IKEA near their place in Maryland.
But when I checked the Pittsburgh IKEA, they had none. After reading Anne's account of her father's recipe, I had been thinking of it again, so when I made a trip to IKEA for some odds and ends- I checked, and this time it was there! In addition to the bottled concentrate, there were also pretty little juiceboxes of an elderflower drink, chilled. This proved very nice, though not quite as good as the carbonated English one. I am planning on mixing my concentrate with some fizzy water. The elderflower taste is hard to pin down; it is refreshing, with a modest flavor, a floral taste, but not at all perfumey, clean and soft. I'm sold on it, as you can see.
I also scored some interesting looking IKEA jam, gooseberry, which is a favorite of mine, and cloudberry, which I have never yet tasted. I am feeling quite pleased about finally finding the elderflower products, and think they are very pretty too. I am also wondering if it might be a flavor to use on, or in other things. Hmmmm.