Thursday, 20 June 2013

DIY Danish Summer Champagne - Hyldeblomstchampagne!

Kid you not, we've just had a full week's balmy, hot, sunny weather in Copenhagen.  Almost 30 degrees celcius today (86f) - summer is here!  And is set to leave us again because thunder and torrential rain is on the way... ;)  But, hey ho, at least our hyldeblomst (elderflower) bushes are in full bloom.  Now, hyldeblomst is generally considered a weed - they just appear in your garden, wanted or not. I think they're actually quite pretty - small creamy coloured flowers which turn into crimson berries in the autumn. We've 'lucky' to have two large bushes in our back garden...



The Danes drink elderflower juice all year round - you'll find it in most bars and cafés.   I used to make my own elderflower cordial until one year when I couldn't get hold of the required sachets of citric acid - and discovered this recipe for Hyldeblomstchampagen - Elderflower Champagne.  Easy, sassy and soooo good! :)

Cut about 10 small elderflower heads (in full bloom - not the ones turning pale brown) and rinse them gently with cold water - just to get any bugs out ;)



Pop them in a very large pot, to which you add a roughly chopped lemon. Pips n' all.



Pour over 750g sugar (just over 1 lb) and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. White wine vinegar if you have it.



Lastly, pour over 4½ litres (roughly 9 pints) of cold water.  What, absolutely no yeast required?  No, it's one of those marvels of science!  Give it a good stir round, cover and leave for at least 24 hours in a cool place.



The next day you can strain it and put it into sturdy glass bottles. A word of warning: it gets really fizzy, so you need bottles which won't pop!  Screw top wine bottles are really good.



Leave the bottles in a cool, dark place. You might want to wrap them in a plastic carrier bag - just in case they 'pop'.  Natural yeast will work it's wonderful magic and - after about 6 weeks - you'll have the most fantastic, golden, summery champagne which will make even the French turn green with envy.  Serve really cold.  And be careful when you open the bottle!  (Lock animals and kids indoors and wear firework goggles...)

If you leave it longer than 6 weeks, it will start to lose some of its fizz (and be less alcoholic) but still be drinkable.

Skål og god sommer!

Diane :)

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