What could be more summery sounding than a chilled glass of Elderflower Champagne? The French would reel at it being called Champagne but you get the idea! I first heard about this drink on one of my favourite escapism programmes – Escape to the Chateau – where Dick Strawbridge made it, but was very tight lipped about his secret recipe. I then vowed to make it this summer and started doing my own research and there seems to be so many different versions out there you can try out. I found my recipe here – it is a very useful guide as it gives the method step by step with lots of pictures. It is also a lovely thing to do, going Elderflower picking in the English countryside, it really brings you back to nature and lets you know that summer is well on the way.
Now the fundamental flaw with my ‘Champagne’ was that I don’t actually think it turned alcoholic in the end but I served it at a summer lunch I had with Mum, Hayley and Faye and we enjoyed a very refreshing and floral tasting glass of fizz! I don’t think I helped my cause by using baking yeast which was a bit out of date! But as I said, there are loads of recipes out there, so choose one you like the sound of and go for it. Some don’t even use yeast, speaking to James’ mum Clare who has also tried making it this year, her recipe didn’t. My good friend Ann also told me the tale about one of her neighbours who was renowned for his Elderflower Champagne at parties – a couple of glasses and people’s legs gave way! So even if my results haven’t quite been what I expected, it has certainly got me talking with friends and family about it and everyone in the kitchen it seems, willing to give it a go!