As fresh to the senses as cut grass or a flute of crisp bubbly, elderflower and gooseberry are a squeaky clean pair of British hedgerow companions – and together they herald the beginning of summer. At the merest hint of sunshine, the elder erupts into a froth of scented blossom and gooseberry branches begin to bend and brace under the weight of their plump, tart fruit.
These two quintessentially British crops are harvested for just a few fleeting weeks, when they are eagerly married together in exquisite cordials, fools, wines and jellies, with the delicate Muscat aroma of the elderflower acting as the perfect counterpart to the explosive, mouth-puckering juice of the gooseberry. The opportunity is short and seductive – with the coming of high summer, the ‘British grape’ and the elder’s lemony scent are gone.
Known as the ‘people’s medicine chest’, the elderflower has been employed for centuries in Britain to create infusions and tinctures for common ailments, and as a cooling natural skin toner. Gooseberries – faeberries in old English – meanwhile are charged with vitamin C and antioxidants.
Noble Isle source organic elderflower and gooseberry from the iconic Victorian Productive Gardens at The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, which grows over 200 varieties of heritage fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Q1. Please tell us briefly about the origin of the Lost Gardens of Heligan?
Following the outbreak of World War 1, 13 men from the Heligan Estate enlisted to fight for their country. The sad loss of 9 Heligan staff lead to the gradual decline of this once magnificent 200-acre estate.
On Monday 16th February 1990, The Lost Gardens of Heligan were rediscovered from the brambles of time. Today, Heligan remains one of the most loved and romantic gardens in the UK, appreciated as much for their beauty and mystery, as for the ground-breaking restoration project – the largest in Europe.
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