After a evening spent combing Pinterest looking at the different ideas for how to cook with and eat flowers, I wanted to get involved. Slight problem. I live in a second floor flat in central London and don't have access to either a wildflower meadow or a country cottage garden. I could, of course, sourced some flowers from a high end grocer or supermarket but this seemed a bit wrong. The alternative was going for the dried variety, specifically rose petals and lavender.
In the process of looking at the many different ways to eat flowers, I found this recipe for chocolate bark.
Apparently "bark" is a thing in America, a very big thing. Particularly as a "hostess gift" which, particularly in the world of Martha Stewart, is also a thing, and also a very big thing. Given that my idea of hostess gifting typically involves peeling the label off the bottle of wine on the doorstep, I thought this would be a good way of killing two birds with two stones: eating some flowers and upping my hostess game.
I am not a particularly good follower-of-recipes, so I went a bit freestyle. I kept with the white chocolate for sweetness and the blank canvas, but went big on the toppings; more is more in my book. I started by soaking some of the dried rose petals in some sugar syrup made from lavender sugar and a couple of drops of Elisir di Rose. I then dried these out in a low oven; the whole process took around twenty minutes and was my plan to give the larger pieces of dried petals a bit of sweetness. The liquid that the rose petals were soaked in is well worth keeping (try adding a little to a gin and tonic).
I took another handful of rose petals and ground them in a mortar and pestle with a tablespoon of lavender sugar. This is where it gets a bit heathen... I then added a generous sprinkle of strawberry glitter pebbles. I know, I know. In my defence the flavour, albeit artificial, did add to the end result. Plus the ground up mixture looked like what I imagine would be the remains of a My Little Pony spontaneously combusted; I may be thirty-something but I still like a bit of pink glitter and sparkle (sorry not sorry).
Next up the chocolate. This follows the principle of rubbish in, rubbish out - use advent calendar chocolate and it will taste as much. With this in mind I grabbed a couple of bars with a high cocoa content, melted and poured onto greaseproof paper.
I topped the chocolate with the crushed rose mixture and the larger sugar-soaked petals, adhering to my principle of more is more and adding in a few more strawberry sparkle pebbles for good measure.
I stuck the lot in the fridge until solid (about thirty minutes) and then cracked it into satisfyingly chunky pieces. I had worried that it might taste overly floral in a prissy, maiden aunt way. It didn't. The rose had more of a light floral taste enhancing the sweetness of the white chocolate. It might look like a whole bunch of pot pourri stuck to white chocolate but, boy, it tastes good.
This can be done in about ten minutes, absent minded-ly, while on the phone or with a child hanging off each leg. It is only the next level up from chocolate crispy cakes but has the advantage of looking pretty flash when finished.