Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flowers and champagne!

I promised this post a couple of weeks ago, and its been in the pipeline forever (hey, fermentation requires patience) but this morning I curiously popped a cork, and we have bubbles!

So it started years ago after seeing a spring episode of River cottage, a funny british show about living in the country and growing your own. They made it, so I filled this away to try myself- Elderflower champagne.

It took me a little while to work out that Elderflower is sambucca in Italy, and yes, that black alcohol that I threw up everywhere on my 20th birthday comes from this plant.

We have it in abundance down near the river, looks like this:

There's a terribly creepy wooden shed down there that I hate to walk past, it makes me remember all the slasher/supernatural/vampire movies I've ever seen. Even in a big group of people it gives me chills. I half expected the photo to turn out with some ghostly shadow across it. Didn't happen.
So I took the flowers home and followed the recipe, soaking them in a (very clean) bucket with water, sugar and lemon juice. The flowers, it seems, bring their own yeast.
After a week I strained it, a week later bottled it, and then... nothing. Alas there was no fizz, which meant no champagne and therefore no blog post.
My four bottles of fizzlessness sat around for a couple more weeks, until this morning. I got bubbles!
So heres my elderflower champagne:
Problem now is, I can't stand the taste, after smelling it ferment for weeks. Aperitivo, anyone?

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I was walking near home the other day and snapped this picture of the stream at the bottom of the hill.

Since, though, we've had only thunderstorms, hailstorms and buckets of rain. The river in Florence looks set to flood, and this little stream is probably an impassable and trecherous raging torrent.
See what I'm doing here? Baby steps.