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  • Writer's pictureRosie

Osmanthus - The Aromatic & Edible Chinese Flower

Updated: Feb 6

You may not have heard of it but you've probably seen it...Osmanthus, (from Greek osma, meaning "fragrant", and anthos, meaning "flower") was introduced to Europe in the middle of 19th century by the French botanist Jean Marie Delavay. The lingering and seductive, but not overwhelming, flower is mostly well known for being a fragrant and tasteful ingredient of autumn in China. This historically and culturally renowned flower can also be found here at Formosa Gardens Winery; blooming delicately amongst our orchards.

"Unlike other flowers smelling either too delicate or too intense, osmanthus presents a floral scent that is clean enough to wash away the dust in the air and rich enough to spread over miles. It's hard to believe it comes from nature and not the moon in heaven"

- Song Dynasty poet - Yang Wanli.

Yang's poetic lines of the flower's heavenly scent is inspired by a Chinese legend. It was said that the plant comes from the Earth's heavenly moon... and a sky fairy who could not bear to watch illness harm humanity scattered its seeds over the Earth so that they may grow and be used to make wines and healing teas.

The tiny white (sometimes yellow) flowers emit an aroma similar to that of an apricot and ripe peaches. Unlike many other flower petals that are bitter to the taste, osmanthus petals have a unique flavor which is only slightly bitter and very mildly sweet; making it ideal for cooking, making teas and wines, or as an ingredient for fragrance. It is often incorporated in savory dishes and sweet dim sum; adding sweetness with dimensions of freshness.

Health benefits of the flower when consumed include: - weight loss - stress reduction

- lower blood pressure

- improved circulation

- lessened arthritis pain

- mitigated insomnia

- lessened menstrual cramps

- healthy digestion

- natural mouthwash

- healthy skin

- combats allergies

At the winery we harvest the osmanthus's flavor filled petals and make tea to share with friends and colleagues. If the harvest is plentiful we sometimes incorporate the petal's sweet flavor in our fall pastries in our bistro bakery. Though we have now passed into winter, you can still taste an array of delicate, delightful, delicious desserts at our bakery! Be sure to come by and take a look at our expertly crafted treats and sweets.

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