Remember the Inchworm Song?
Two and two are four
Four and four are eight
Eight and eight are sixteen
Sixteen and sixteen are thirty-two
The inchworm was a pretty smart fellow. After all, he knew that measuring the marigolds would take him places.
It’s the same with our marigolds.
Our French marigold has big bold maroon and gold stripes, like a circus tent. They are unapologetically loud. There is NOTHING delicate or subtle about these edible flowers.
On the daintier side, our citrus marigolds are smaller. They’re simpler. But, like their extroverted cousins, they will definitely multiply the impact of your creativity, whether you use two, or four, or eight, or sixteen or thirty-two.
But you can definitely see the family resemblance in the classic marigold appearance of these two, as well as in their dry and chewy texture, citrusy and astringent aroma, and bitter flavor with notes of orange peel and mint.
Chef Sheldon Millett, pastry chef at The Ritz Carlton at Amelia Island said the citrus flavor of marigolds are a natural choice in Florida. “They speak to where we are,” he said. “It brings the outside in.” He said his guests who’ve never experienced marigolds in a dessert are first impressed with the eye catching colors of the flowers. And then they taste them.
“They are surprised by the flavor,” he said. “And visually it looks so nice.”
Chef Sheldon said he uses the full blooms of the smaller marigolds, and picks the petals from the larger French variety. Besides aroma, flavor and texture, the chef said marigolds are a good “talking point” when he serves his guests. “I can talk about the bees, and pollination,” he said. “I can talk about how the flowers bring out an element of different taste. We use them on a honey rose cake. They bring a different flavor to the dish.”
He said he also uses marigolds to garnish citrus yogurt mousse and heirloom melons, and that the edible flowers go perfectly with chocolate as well. “Incorporating marigolds brings the dessert to life,” he said. “Especially in spring.”
Whether he serves them on desserts in the hotel’s fine dining restaurants, or in banquet situations, Chef Sheldon said marigolds are a sturdy, long lasting flower. “They hold so long,” he said. “It has a lot of stability in it and it can be used in so many different ways.”
Edible flowers from The Chef’s Garden also inspire the rest of Chef Sheldon’s staff of pastry chefs. Together, he and his “ladies and gentlemen,” have flower tastings to develop menus and desserts.
“Sometimes I separate it all out on a piece of parchment so they can all look at it,” he said. “It’s an educational conversation. I want them to respect the flavor. It is special stuff that not everybody is able to use.”
At The Chef’s Garden, we measure our marigolds by their beauty, size and flawlessness. Only the prettiest, most perfect flowers make the cut. And even though they are a sturdier flower, we handle them as tenderly as if they were made of spun sugar.
Whichever of our marigolds you choose, they will definitely multiply the impact of your creativity, whether you use two, or four, or eight, or sixteen or thirty-two.
You can count on it.