Food for free: Elderflower Champagne


Food writer, broadcaster and author Caroline Hennessy has been focused on food and writing since editing Ireland’s first food website for RTÉ in 2000. Chair of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild, she established the award-winning Bibliocook: All About Food in 2005, is the author of two books about beer and food and has a column in the Irish Examiner in which she writes about small food producers and the ways in which they develop and maintain a sustainable local food system.

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16 Responses

  1. Móna Wise says:

    I have several of those flip top bottles (French lemonade bottles) laying around and really need to do something with them. I have never been a fan of the Elderflower cordial (too sweet) but have yet to meet a bottle of bubbly I do not like!

    Might do a bit of foraging with the kids this weekend.

  2. Caroline says:

    I used to collect them when I was working in Urru! They were just too sweet-looking to throw away. I was glad to finally find a use for them – the Husband was threatening to “re-house” them, until he tasted the champagne and then there were no problems.

    The champagne, or this version at least, wasn’t too sweet at all. Especially good chilled. Let me know how you get on.

  3. joanne says:

    I Have lots of those lemonade bottles for cordial,how do you sterilise your.I am afraid to put them in the oven as the stopper might melt and they are too big for the dishwasher. Thanks.

    • Caroline says:

      I just used the Milton method – soaked the lot of them in a big basin of water with a little Milton and gave them a good rinse afterwards. Don’t try boiling water – this really makes a big mess when the bottles explode!

  4. We were looking for Elderflowers today but unfortunately the only ones we could see were in other peoples gardens!

    We’ll continue our search tomorrow, can’t wait to have a go at Elderflower champagne, it sounds lovely.

    • Caroline says:

      Maybe call into some of those houses and see if they would let you harvest a few flowers. Many people just look upon elder as a weed – I know my Mum does!

  5. That’s a wonderful tip about making cordial ice cubes.

    • Caroline says:

      They’re great! I always forget to chill things so, with these in the freezer, at least it’s easy to make a cool jug of cordial.

  6. Aurea says:

    ooh! I’ve wanted to do this for AGES! the cordial especially.. i’ll have to file this link away for when I finally get my act together!

  7. Caroline says:

    Don’t wait too long, Aurea. Those elderflowers will be gone before you realise it!

  8. Martin Dwyer says:

    The Elderberries are particularly good here this year and I am contemplating making jelly from them.
    Have you ever tried this , I am wondering if it will be very bitter.

  9. Martin says:

    I winged it anyway and the results weres surprisingly good. I can send you my recipe if you are interested.

  10. Caroline says:

    You’re way ahead of me – and your elderberries are too! It’s not that long since the elderflowers fell here so we’re still a bit off the berry stage.

    Sorry I took so long in replying. I kept meaning to dig out a recipe that I used a couple of years ago to make an elderberry jelly but work (and cottage painting!) kept getting in the way. I do remember that it used a sizeable amount of apples, maybe more like an elderberry-flavoured apple jelly depending on your ratios, but it was good, even if a little sharp.

    Are you going to post your recipe on your blog? Would definitely be interested in seeing it!

  11. Max says:

    If you’re going to crown cap I’d suggest you let the chapmagne ferment out a little in the bucket. That way some of the sugar will be used up before you bottle it. When you prime beer for bottle conditioning it’s about the equivalent of one teaspoon of sugar per bottle, more than that and you risk an explosion, so you can let the chapmagne fizzle away in the bucket for a couple of days. I could go on boringly about specific gravities and stuff but 1) I can’t remember the figures and 2) it’s much more fun to live in anticipation!

  1. September 13, 2014

    […] as I write this post. A couple of weeks ago I read and commented on a post by Caroline at Bibliocookwhere I mentioned that the only Elderflower trees I had seen growing were in other peoples […]

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