Frozen gimbap sold at Trader Joe's makes triumphant debut in home market
Yoon accepts broadcasting watchdog chief's resignation ahead of impeachment motion
[Weekender] Can't get a date? Try a temple ... or city hall
S. Korea successfully launches 1st spy satellite into orbit
S. Korea, US, Japan, Australia jointly announce sanctions on NK
[Herald Interview] ‘Our Season’ Kim Hae-sook wants to play mothers of all kinds
Ateez closes 1st chapter of career with 'The World Ep. Fin: Will’
Yoon vetoes contentious pro-labor, broadcasting bills
SK chief suggests Korean, Japanese businesses form ‘union’ to overcome global crisis
[Today’s K-pop] BTS member Jungkook’s ‘Golden’ 4th most-streamed on Spotify this year
When flowers bloom on your plateBy Kim Hae-yeon
Published : May 21, 2022 - 16:00
From Parents’ Day to Teacher’s Day, flower shops are busy preparing lavish bouquets and baskets throughout what is known as Family Month.
What if such beautiful flowers can also be enjoyed as part of your meal?
An Italian restaurant and a dessert cafe in Seoul proves that flowers can indeed be a feast for the palate, not just a feast for the eyes.
About a five-minute walk from Anguk Station Exit No. 1, you will notice an old hanok with a sign that reads “Pizza, pasta and steak.”
Stepping into Flora on a warm spring day, the awnings installed at the center terrace garden are pulled aside and the bright sunlight welcomes customers.
Their two signature dishes are the flower green salad with scallops and mushrooms, and flora special pizza.
The server introduces the name of each flower that are in the salad and pizza, making the dining experience fun and pleasant.
At first bite, the flower salad was slightly bitter and had a minty aroma.
The more you chewed on the flower petals, the softer they became, to a texture similar to that of blanched baby lettuce. Its scent was reminiscent of fresh green grass, or a mix of vegetables without any seasoning.
Although edible flowers served vary depending on the season, on the day of the visit in May, roses, pansies, dianthus flowers, chrysanthemums and snapdragons were sprinkled on top of the pizza.
Cho is one of the pioneering chefs in Korea who introduced a variety of edible flower dishes in Seoul in the early 2000s.
Before opening Flora in 2007, he worked as a chef at several hotels. “There were strict rules to follow at hotels and strict boundaries on which ingredients could be used in a specific type of cuisine. But I always thought a flower could be paired with any meal.”
Having seen flower decorations in French and Japanese cuisines, Cho started to delve into botany texts and foreign cookbooks on flower decorations.
Although he could not afford to go on trips to foreign countries, he would plant seeds and grow his own flowers in his small balcony at home, experimenting and tasting them with pizza, the dish he is most confident about.
“Like herbal teas having different potential health benefits, edible flowers are the same. For instance, marigold flowers are good for the eyes and lavender flowers aid digestion,” Cho said.
“My favorite (edible) flower is rosemary flower. Just like its stylish purple color, it is very standoffish. Rosemary flower only blooms once a year and for a short time. Sometimes, it will not show up at all throughout the year,” Cho said.
Although Flora focuses on Italian cuisine, Cho experiments with a variety of flower dishes, such as braised flounder with plum blossoms, or flower rice balls.
“It took three years before our customers stopped picking out the flowers on our pizzas, and started eating them. Now, our regulars know the kinds and tastes of different flowers, which is a dream come true for me and of which I am proud.”
Flower dessert at Sona
Sona, a cozy dessert cafe with a modern interior, is located on the second floor of a building near Garosugil in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul.
A must-try here is the champagne sugar ball, a special dessert with edible flowers.
The shape resembling a crystal ball, the bottom layer consists of powdered cheesecake, topped with nonalcoholic Champagne foam and fresh cherries. The outer part is coated with a thin layer of sugar.
Some of the flowers in the artlike dessert include pansy, begonia flower, elderflower and rose.
Although rich in overall flavor, the sweet-and-sour Champagne foam and minty scent of flowers make the dessert not as sweet as it seems. A special homemade syrup is served for those who want to add a touch of sweetness.
Staff at Sona recommended the chamomile tea to pair with the champagne sugar ball.
By Kim Hae-yeon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Koreas' spy satellite launches heat up arms race in space
Seoul says FEOC guidance reduces uncertainty, will continue close consultation with US
N. Korea bristles at US over comments about possible disabling of spy satellite