Grandmother’s Lilac Syrup

While the weather can be quite uncertain these days starting out with  spring fog as you can see in the picture below, the most beautiful time of the year has begun. Let’s start celebrating spring with blossom syrup made from sweet-scented lilac !! I’ve heard a few times how people miss lilac blossoming in Venice. But there it is, growing in the private courtyards, palace or wild gardens in town and in convent courtyards on the Lagoon islands. Often, just a few meters from you passing in front of  a brick stone wall.

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These days, the Lagoon and Estuary are perfumed with lilac scent, there are three kinds of lilac in the Venetian countryside. Purple, pale rose and white varieties. We use lilac to decorate tablescapes but also to make syrup.  We don’t just drink the syrup but use it to flavor cakes and panna montata – whipped cream and crema pasticcera . It’s a staple ingredient in  Grandmother’s kitchen and pantry (dispensa).

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Our own plant has light purple blossoms appearing in the second part of March and sometimes even earlier. Making lilac syrup is rather simple. You just need to take care not to use the green parts of the blossoms, just the petals.

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Pick three twigs of lilac and use the blossoms. Shake the blossoms carefully, spray them with water but never wash them. In that manner, the blossoms retain their scent. Bring them to the boil with 1/4 liter water and 250 gr white cane sugar and the juice of half a medium-sized lemon.  Take the pan off the heat and leave to stand for at least 4-5 hours. Bring the mixture to the boil once more, drain it and fill the syrup into a glass bottle. Store in a cool, dry and dark place in your pantry (dispensa we call it in Venice). Once opened, keep your bottle in the fridge but make sure you finish it within a few days.

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