Wednesday, June 22, 2011

our Midsommar traditions: may wine

This year we introduced some new traditional foods to our Midsommar dinner, and some were very special; I thought I'd tell you some more about them.

The plant above is known as Sweet Woodruff. It is a shade-loving groundcover, and yes, it is this bright green in my own garden. Now, the only problem with Sweet Woodruff is that it is an aggressive and invasive plant, and I'll soon have to start tearing bits of mine out, alas.

See all the tiny flowers there? They smell like jasmine - another plus for this plant. And they are the key ingredient in making may wine for a traditional maying celebration (or in our case, midsommar).

To make may wine, you need 24 of the little stems per bottle of wine. You don't want to use any more than this, because sweet woodruff can be toxic in higher doses, so stick to the recipe.

Now, open a bottle of a medium-sweet riesling or gewurtztraminer wine. Not too sweet, but definitely not dry. Pour out about 1/4 cup of wine to make a bit of room in the bottle. Stick your 24 blossoms in, and recork. Stick your bottle of may-wine-to-be in the fridge for two days. Be sure to strain out the blossoms as you pour your wine! We used a simple tea strainer held over each glass.

So, what does it taste like? Almost like cinnamon and celery seed have been infused into your wine. It's incredible! And it was a great pairing for our opening offerings: foie gras on toast with cloudberry preserves and home-cured gravlax (pictures forthcoming there).

You can also add a bottle of champagne to your bottle of may wine, and float some wild strawberries in the mix, you have a traditional may punch!

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