The charms of pristine nature reveal themselves away from city concrete where forest clearings, hills and vast meadows reign. Alongside the sounds of birds chirping, the scent of elderberry is another thing we associate with spring. Gentle white-yellow flowers can be found in smaller and larger bushes. Most of the year we hardly take notice of them, but this is the season when they are most recognisable.
Picking elderberry flowers and making juice, syrups, sparkling wines, wine and tea have been preserved as part of folk medicine, culinary tradition and seasonal customs. Elderberry primarily occurs in continental Croatia, but it can also be found in Istria and parts of Kvarner. Elderberry pickers are a common sight in nature on weekends, but you can also roam small local markets and find numerous elderberry products prepared to traditional recipes.
Irresistible elderberry desserts
Fried elderberry is surely the most common elderberry dessert. It’s prepared by dipping fresh flowers into a thicker mixture like the one used for crepes or into beer dough and then frying them in sizzling hot oil. When they’re done, you can serve them with another gift of the forest – maple syrup. If you’re into more intense flavours, elderberry goes great with lemon and ginger. We suggest you try making a lemon and elderberry cake. A classic lemon custard made for a lemon tart and it goes great with white sponge cakes you can drench by pouring elderberry juice over them.
Elderberry jelly you can sweeten at your discretion makes a very decorative and simple dessert. You can serve it in transparent glasses with raspberries whose acidity will give a perfect finishing touch to elderberry’s floral notes.
If you’d like surprise your guests with a glamorous choice of dessert, we suggest you prepare elderberry panna cotta . You can serve a ginger and salted butter-flavoured crumble with the panna cotta. They’ll also love elderberry ice-cream which is becoming more and more available in ice-cream parlours. Tiny and charming elderberry flowers are the best decoration.
The family restaurant Terbotz has managed to find its place in the sun in the rolling hills of Međimurje. Its specialties and fantastic selection of local wines and culinary ideas have earned it a formidable reputation. If you’ve set your mind on spending the weekend in Terbotz, you don’t want to miss out on the dessert – elderberry ice-cream with crepes filled with fresh apricot jam.
The idea of wild flowers was the main source of inspiration in Dubrovnik-based Pantarul Restaurant where they also make desserts that will knock you off your feet