Nature’s Edible Blooms

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Words by Jenn Rein

A bouquet of flowers may be one of the most important bridal accessories—the role blooms play in wedding décor cannot be understated. But you can also bring nature to your celebration table by including food and drink options that use edible flowers. Flowers can be added to appetizers and dinner entrées, or top cakes and dessert items; petals can also make their debut on the side of a cocktail glass. Incorporating flowers into food and drink options allows you to extend this favorite event detail to both the banquet and bar.

Edible flower options grow abundantly in the Tetons and are sustainably foraged for use by many local vendors. Still, just because a seasonal flower is chosen for your wedding décor, doesn’t mean it can safely be used in the salad. For non-foraged flowers used in food, check your sourcing, as chemical-free, food-grade flowers are a must! It’s good to know what your culinary team might be working with, which may include these safe and commonly used varieties: 

  • Pansies yield a mild flavor and look beautiful on cakes.
  • Roses have a classic floral flavor, with petals sturdy enough to candy. 
  • Dahlias come in so many colors, shapes, and flavors, and last a long time.
  • Mums have a strong, slightly bitter flavor and can hold up for hours.
  • Lilacs’ tiny, delicate flowers taste great plain or candied.
  • Bachelor buttons look like mini pom-poms and taste like a cucumber.
  • Hibiscus can be sourced dried and has a tart, berry palate.
  • Orchids are sweet to the taste and come in several sizes.
  • Impatiens are considered the handiest of edible flowers, and have a sweet flavor.
  • Begonias’ citrusy taste work well in salads and drinks.   

Custom baker Callie Smith, of Sweet Peaks Teton Valley, decorates her cakes with the season’s bountiful yield of wildflowers.

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“Our area is full of gorgeous wildflowers during the early summer months, and most of them are edible,” says Smith. “Indian paintbrush, daisies, and lupine are bright and colorful, and make beautiful accents on a cake. … Later in the summer, sunflowers begin to pop and are one of my favorite choices for cake décor.”

Working primarily in fondant and buttercream, Smith reminds us that creating flowers in icing mediums can add a lot of time to a cake project. Using real flowers can cut this time in half—especially when working with a deadline—and make just as big of a splash as the engineered version. 

“I’ve definitely noticed a growing trend in brides opting for fresh flowers on their wedding cakes,” she explains. “Besides being a more budget-friendly option, there is an organic and rustic elegance to the Wild West that fresh flowers really capture.”

You can also up the ante at your reception with signature eye-catching cocktails that include flowers. Dressing up the drink menu with a floral selection is a delightful way to showcase your personal style. Jessa Talermo, of Amrita Handcrafted Beverages in Jackson, considers seasonality equally as much as balanced flavors when crafting her custom cocktails and “free spirits” (aka, mocktails).

“Lilacs are for early summer … flax works great for mid-summer … and, wild rose is perfect for late summer,” she says. “I also really love the blooms that happen in my garden, such as nasturtium and herb [flowers]. And I love arugula blossoms. They are so nutty and yummy!”

Talermo enjoys bringing the Tetons’ wildness into the theme of her beverages. And since the outdoors is so deeply ingrained into weddings in the region, edible florals fit seamlessly.

“I love the surprise element when a client is presented with flowers as an addition [to their drink], and the curiosity over something alive and so lovely.” 

If you want to take your floral details to a level that guests will notice and remember, consider adding flowers to your ice cubes, too. Floral-donned cubes add an unexpected twist to a simple glass of water. This thoughtful and surprising touch helps celebrate the wild magic of a Teton wedding.

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Fields of Volley 

This simple cocktail recipe, created by Jessa Talermo, will liven up your bar menu—just add flowers.

1.5 ounces craft vodka or gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
.75 ounces simple syrup
splash Crème de Violette

  1. Shake all ingredients with ice. 
  2. Strain into glass over fresh ice. 
  3. Garnish with a lavender sprig and
    half of a lemon wheel.

Talermo says she enjoys taking something out of the natural world, and then bringing it into a setting outside of its intended use. For the founder of Amrita Handcrafted Beverages, this means using her own curated surroundings to create an experience that matters. 

“I love being able to spend the time growing something with such clear and clean intentions that will then be shared in such a simple manner—like placed on top of a delicious beverage,” she says.

While it’s true that a food foraging trend is afoot, it’s leading us into a space where we integrate with our surroundings in a different way. Looking to nature for nourishment is inherent to our instinctual behavior, but who knew the selections could be so delicate and pretty? When set beautifully on a cake or suspended in a craft cocktail, the edible flower makes an elegant impression. 

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