Minutes after Kensington Palace announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding cake baker was selected - and that the dessert would be a lemon-elderflower combination - searches for elderflower skyrocketed. In the U.K., the blooms are a common sign of spring, often pressed to make cordials, jams, and fritters. Stateside, they're less commonly found in foods and drinks, so it's understandable if the announcement caused some head-scratching (and frantic Googling). Here's everything you need to know.
It's Floral, But It's Nothing Like Lavender Or Rose.
Yes, there's that slightly herby flavor you'd get from edible flowers, but elderflower's sweeter than you'd expect - and a little musky. It's closer to lychee in flavor, and it has a crisp, palate-cleansing finish.
If you think about how blueberries add a sweet-tart flavor to a lemon muffin or scone, that's exactly what elderflower's doing in the royal couple's cake. Only it adds a delicate floral flavor, too.
BUY NOW Elderflower cordial, $15; amazon
It's A Starry Flower, Found In Clusters.
These dainty blossoms speckle the English countryside toward the end of May and early June. You'll see a spray of cream-colored, star-like blooms - surrounded by feathery, dark green leaves - on shrubs and small trees, and they're mildly toxic if eaten raw, according to the Woodland Trust.
Eating an "excessive amount," whatever that means, can cause vomiting and diarrhea, WebMD reports, but cooking the flowers gets rid of the chemical that causes nausea. Elderflower's often cooked down into a syrup for people to use in baking.
It's Used In St. Germain.
If you've ever seen St. Germain listed in a cocktail you ordered at a bar, you sipped elderflower liqueur and didn't know it. Between 40-50 people harvest elderflowers in France each spring, mashing them and mixing them with a little citrus and cane sugar to create the sweet-tart drink, according to Drizly, an alcohol-ecommerce site. St. Germain's often added to champagne or dry white wine for a simple - yet tastes sophisticated - cocktail.
BUY NOW St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, $25-$60; drizly
This Lemonade's Almost Like Drinking The Royal Wedding Cake.
If you're one of the millions who didn't score an invitation to the royal wedding - or you're too busy being fabulous to make it, whatev - you can kinda sorta get a taste of the cake by sipping Belvoir's Elderflower Lemonade. It has the sweet, citrusy, floral blend you'd expect from a slice of Claire Ptak's official cake - minus the frosting.
BUY NOW Elderflower Lemonade, $6; amazon
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