It's very rare I go for the glamour to draw your attention to something, but the young lady (and her companions) are
holding up the product in question, so perhaps you'll forgive me this once.
From the www.wildhibiscus.com website, here's the "backstory":
The Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup was "discovered" by happy accident at a lively Australian dinner party in 1998, when Lee Etherington and a group of (tipsy) friends playfully dunked a crimson wildflower into a champagne flute.
The flower slid gracefully to the bottom of the glass, and the friends watched, agog, as champagne bubbles streamed across it, and the petals slowly unfurled. Lee, a 21-year-old tour guide who owned a small food business and had only ever used the edible Hibiscus as a dessert garnish, took a sip of his exotic creation.
It was a Eureka moment.
We get all kinds of interesting requests for new products from our customers and from the public generally. Most of these products we've heard of, but every now and again there's an enquiry that adds to what we know about our business or makes us part of a discussion in progress (I've mentioned the Sangue di Giuda
story before in this connexion).
Recently a customer rang, slightly exasperated by the fruitlessness of her search so far, to ask if we kept hibiscus flowers in syrup. My suggestion, speaking as a gardener as well as a wine merchant, that this was an uncommon request chez
Bubble Brothers too did little to disperse the gathering clouds of indignation at the other end of the line. I promised to look into it.
So now, thanks to the prompt and friendly assistance of Lee Etherington, the hibiscus honcho at www.wildhibiscus.com
, and his UK importers
, wild hibiscus flowers in syrup have been added to our list
Their arrival in Ireland is imminent, and thanks to a mention in the house magazine of Weddings by Franc
, - I must remember to buy a copy - the original enquiry about wild hibiscus as a distinctive, tasty ingredient in a sparkly night in, memorable wedding reception, special dinner, &c. is no longer alone - quite a few people have been in touch to find out where they can get a jar. We listened, we reacted, the stock's on its way.
Each jar holds about eleven hibiscus buds in cane syrup. They have a redcurrantish, vegetal-fruity taste that balances the sweetness of the syrup. You can put one in your champagne flute and add sparkling wine; make all sorts of interesting cocktails; or set them in jelly and so on as a dessert. It's a versatile product, and a value-adding talking point that would go a long way to redeeming a lacklustre bottle of fizz. Of course, if you buy your bubbles from us in the first place, it's what they call a win-win situation.