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List of leaves/flowers for dessert garnishes?

HawtLeak Mar 26, 2011 12:57 PM

Hi there,

can someone list out the leaves and flowers that people use to garnish desserts ? for example mint, etc.. and also Where do you buy them? I couldn't find them at the grocery store.


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    somervilleoldtimer RE: HawtLeak Mar 26, 2011 01:00 PM

    I wouldn't buy them at a flower store because you don't know what's been sprayed on them. Any food you can eat you can use to garnish. Mint, basil, lemon verbena, pansies, violets, grape leaves, marigold, lilac. Stay away from any bulb plant -- tulip, daffodil, etc. Stay far away from foxglove and other poisonous plants. Ferns are nice. You can candy flowers as well for later use.

    1. chefjeannine RE: HawtLeak Mar 26, 2011 01:57 PM

      I'm always looking for nice edible flowers to add to deserts, but I have only found very limited options. Chez Louis in the Jean Talon Market has edible flowers, but i've never been too impressed with their selection. I've also seen food grade orchids at Loblaws in the fruit & veg section a couple of times. Fresh mint is usually fairly easy to find in regular grocery stoes.
      And somerville is definitely right, never but any plants or flowers at a florist!

      This link may help you: http://www.canada.com/topics/lifestyl...

      Chez Louis
      150 Rue Saint-Georges, Drummondville, QC J2C4H1, CA

      3 Replies
      1. re: chefjeannine
        HawtLeak RE: chefjeannine Mar 26, 2011 03:57 PM

        Where can I find Mint leaves?!

        1. re: HawtLeak
          saltnpepperwhat RE: HawtLeak Mar 26, 2011 04:46 PM

          Asian grocery stores have mint, like Kim Phat.

          1. re: HawtLeak
            kpzoo RE: HawtLeak Mar 26, 2011 05:22 PM

            Almost any grocery store has fresh mint, usually near the parsley.

        2. TheSnowpea RE: HawtLeak Mar 26, 2011 02:10 PM

          I had our wedding cake done by Pâtisserie de Gascogne, and I wanted rose petals on it. They refused, explaining that roses grown for the flower trade are heavily sprayed with antifungals, pesticides, etc. This was a decade ago and I guess I could have sourced local, pesticide free roses instead, but it was too much trouble and our wedding was not exactly in rose season!

          I later saw a report on how roses are grown in South American greenhouses and I was horrified. So yeah, unless you grew those roses yourself, avoid that. Orchids will be suspect too (I grow orchids, and few growers can do pesticide free, because 'chids are just tasty morsels to so many bugs and diseases).

          In the end, we were very glad we went for pastillage flowers on our cake !

          1. w
            wano RE: HawtLeak Mar 26, 2011 02:52 PM

            where are you shopping that you can't find find herbs like:

            of course the green you use depends on the flavour of your dessert.

            how about:
            candied fruit
            shaved coconut
            leaves from a clementine
            kaffir lime leaf
            perilla leaf
            citrus peel
            pandan leaves
            banana leaf
            corn husk
            rhubarb leaves
            celery leaves

            1 Reply
            1. re: wano
              TheSnowpea RE: wano Mar 27, 2011 06:44 AM

              I think rhubarb leaves are unsafe, so I wouldn't recommend that!

            2. m
              Maximilien RE: HawtLeak Mar 26, 2011 03:23 PM

              Nino's (next to Chez Louis) at Jean-Talon Market has eadible flowers.

              Jean-Talon Market
              7075 Avenue Casgrain, Montreal, QC H2S, CA

              Chez Louis
              150 Rue Saint-Georges, Drummondville, QC J2C4H1, CA

              1. w
                wattacetti RE: HawtLeak Mar 26, 2011 03:33 PM

                Nino's and Chez Louis as previously mentioned, along with Fruiterie Atwater.

                Mostly pansy flowers, though you can get the edible orchids; I haven't seen anyone recently with marigolds. You do realize that flowers may look nice but have either a non-descript or bitter note to them. Since a lot of places were selling the things for about $0.50-$1 per flower, I did grow my own flowers at one point.

                Where are you that you can't find even find fresh mint? Even Ile-Bizard has mint (okay I kid, but still…)

                Chez Louis
                150 Rue Saint-Georges, Drummondville, QC J2C4H1, CA

                14 Replies
                1. re: wattacetti
                  HawtLeak RE: wattacetti Mar 26, 2011 04:42 PM

                  Do you where specifically in downtown where I can find fresh mint? I went to Provigo and P.A Supermache I couldn't find them..

                  1. re: HawtLeak
                    Glaff RE: HawtLeak Mar 26, 2011 07:31 PM

                    Are you really asking where you can buy mint ? It's like asking where you can buy tomatoes...

                    1. re: Glaff
                      HawtLeak RE: Glaff Mar 26, 2011 07:36 PM

                      its just that in those dessert plating books, they have such perfect mint leaves/other leaf garnishes.. i dont find them in grocery stores WHY

                      1. re: HawtLeak
                        JadeMyst RE: HawtLeak Mar 26, 2011 09:13 PM

                        the photo stylist buys them by bunches or boxes wholesale or from their own source supplies and they or their assistant carefully wash them, sort out the best looking sprigs and cut and trim with manicure scissors and place them with tweezers on the plate

                      2. re: Glaff
                        HawtLeak RE: Glaff Mar 26, 2011 07:44 PM

                        by the way, Where can I find a cooking blowtorch? Canadian tire doesn't seem to have one.

                        1. re: HawtLeak
                          Maximilien RE: HawtLeak Mar 27, 2011 06:56 AM

                          any blow torch should work.

                          You should be able to get one from any hardware store, in all sizes; it's the same gaz that is burnt.

                          I just looked at Canadian Tire's web site and they have some. (PT200 Butane Torch)

                          If you go to "gourmet" stores, you will pay more for more or less the same thing.


                          1. re: HawtLeak
                            wano RE: HawtLeak Mar 27, 2011 12:59 PM

                            blow torch try Winners

                            1. re: HawtLeak
                              wattacetti RE: HawtLeak Mar 27, 2011 02:14 PM

                              Whatever you do, *don't* buy a cooking blowtorch. They don't put out enough BTUs and are freakingly expensive. Go get yourself a plumbing blowtorch at Canadian Tire for between $15 and $25, depending on the shape of the head, and a cylinder of propane for about $3. Mine is a pistol style which cost less than $20 with the fuel.

                              As for the "where to buy mint" question, if you're looking for picture-perfect, either buy lots process as described by others, or start growing your own under controlled conditions (lighting, netting etc).

                              1. re: wattacetti
                                HawtLeak RE: wattacetti Mar 28, 2011 08:22 PM

                                thanks, i found the mint leaves.

                                and is the plumbing blowtorch safe? i never touched any of these but would like to experiment with the desserts..

                                1. re: HawtLeak
                                  TheSnowpea RE: HawtLeak Mar 28, 2011 08:28 PM

                                  well of course they are :) otherwise, there would be a lot of crispy plumbers! They use the same fuel, but they will be a bit heavier to handle, naturally and put out more heat than the "cooking" blowtorch. You may want to practice!

                                  1. re: HawtLeak
                                    wattacetti RE: HawtLeak Mar 29, 2011 11:05 AM

                                    As Snowpea said, they're bigger versions of the incredibly expensive "kitchen" ones. You'll notice that the commercial kitchens will use these as well.

                                    One thing you never mentioned: what exactly are you preparing with mint leaves and a blow torch?

                                    1. re: wattacetti
                                      somervilleoldtimer RE: wattacetti Mar 29, 2011 06:41 PM

                                      I love your question!

                                      1. re: wattacetti
                                        HawtLeak RE: wattacetti Apr 3, 2011 02:32 PM

                                        I want to experiment making desserts! u know those beautiful looking desserts =P

                            2. re: wattacetti
                              HappyMtl RE: wattacetti Mar 29, 2011 03:28 PM

                              Other edible flowers that are easy to grow and taste sweet include honeysuckle, nasturtium and clover. Nasturtium in particular is happy in a pot on a sunny window sill.

                              Some of the wholesale fruit and produce vendors in the Central Market sell a good selection of edible orchids, roses and other edible flowers. They will sell to retail customers, but you need to buy them in bulk / by the box (like Costco).

                            3. s
                              somervilleoldtimer RE: HawtLeak Mar 29, 2011 06:41 PM

                              Also, if you have a grape vine nearby (in season!) it's beautiful to twine a strand of grape leaves of graduated sizes around a cake.

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