La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Elderflower Champagne

I have been wondering if this is a very British thing to do, making elderflower champagne. I have certainly never come across anyone in my home country or in France, where I live now, trying their hand on that. In a way, I can understand that the French, who have so much wine available, have no need to attempt making elderflower champagne. They would probably be horrified that the name 'champagne' is being used.

In Belgium, people have completely lost the knack of foraging, let alone making such a delicious drink like this. I can't blame them though, this tiny country is so urbanised and over-populated, that I doubt there are many elder trees left. The ones that are, will be poluted by exhaust fumes from cars.

The first time I made elderflower champagne was last year in spring and it is our favourite spring-time beverage. So this is for you, relatives and friends from Belgium and France.

You will need :

1 large non corrosive bucket
10 elderflowers heads (by all means use more if you want to)
2 lemons
1.5 kg sugar
5 liters of water
a dash of cider vinegar

Sarah, our Belgian volunteer, will show you the proceedings.
Put all the ingredients in your bucket
First elderflowers
Then juice the lemons, and also add the squeezed skins.
Pour in the sugar
The water

A dash of cider vinegar.

Ready for the 24 hour fermentation, stirring regularly
After 24 hours, strain through a colander and tea towel or muslin. Pour into bottles with screw tops. Ready to drink after a couple of days. Beware ! Check regularly and loosen the tops from time to time as the fermentation will continue and natural carbonation will appear.
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