It's that time of year again, our hedgerows are bursting with lacy white elderflower blossoms, the sweet scent is carried in the air and the team at Bello Wild Food are out harvesting the elderflower we need to make into our Elderflower Clothbound Cheese. We caught up with them to get their top tips for foraging and enjoying elderflower...
We’re so excited to be working with Bello Wild Food to source the elderflower for our Elderflower Clothbound Cheese. Can you tell us a bit about Bello and how it started?
Bello is a wild food company, harvesting the finest wild food edibles from across the British Isles. We began 12 years ago, supplying foraged edibles wholesale, and over time we've expanded into exciting new areas, like the opportunity to introduce wild foods directly to chefs and food producers. We aim to be a sustainable and environmentally friendly company, we abide by all land permissions and pride ourselves on our values.
Why wild food? What’s so important about it?
Foraging gives us a sense of freedom and safety - it really does bring everyone back to nature. At Bello, our team have a deep-rooted passion and extensive knowledge of wild food, and we're continuing to discover new, untapped resources all the time. We love the health benefits of wild food, we find this phenomenal - elderflower for example, has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as being delicious to eat! We're pleased to see a growing trend towards (or back to) local and sustainable food sources, with small artisan suppliers like us coming into the limelight, and more focus on simple, quintessential ways to discover food as nature intended.
Our hedgerows are bursting with elderflower at the moment – what’s the best way to collect it?
Foraging is our passion so we love to share it with people and encourage everyone to get out and give it a go. You have to be careful that you pick the right thing, so make sure you're able to identify the plant reliably before you set out. Elderflower grows abundantly but it's important to only take what is needed - you can pick a few flower heads from each tree, and still leave plenty to develop into berries in later summer.
What’s so special about elderflower?
In the UK, Elderflower only grows from late May to early June for a very short period, blossoming when the days start getting longer. Its flavour is exquisite - we describe it as floral with a hint of citrus and even vanilla. Harvesting elderflower is so good for you - getting you out and about, enjoying nature and giving you that summer feeling.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy elderflower?
Since elderflower only grows for a very short season, there are lots of delicious and inventive ways to preserve it, from jams and syrups to cordial and gin - and more recently, cheese! Our favourite way to eat elderflower is to enjoy it fresh in the spring, by sprinkling the blossom on top of pancakes.
Finally, what do you think of Quicke’s Elderflower Clothbound Cheese?
We're so pleased to be working with Quicke's to produce their Elderflower Cheese - the perfect expression of the English countryside. It's smooth and creamy and all-round delicious - it's definitely becoming a firm favourite!