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Violets In Human History And  Cooking
Violets In Human History And Cooking

Video: Violets In Human History And Cooking

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Video: Historical Candy: Candied Violets in the 18th Century 2023, February

After a long cold winter, spring will come again, the first flowers will appear, and the delicate scent of violets will meet us in the garden.

Their blue with a purple tint, as well as white and pink small flowers are unusually graceful and undoubtedly mean the arrival of spring.

If you once settled them in a garden somewhere under fruit trees, then further violets propagate themselves by self-sowing. And every spring a dense green carpet with bright blue-violet flowers will attract the attention of guests and owners of the garden.

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One of the many legends about flowers tells that violets arose from the tears of Adam's gratitude when the archangel Gabriel brought him the joyful news of the Lord's forgiveness of his sins. Another legend told that once the god of the sun Apollo pursued with his burning rays one of the adorable daughters of Atlas. The poor girl turned to Zeus with a plea to shelter and protect her. The great Zeus heeded the pleas and turned the girl into a wonderful violet, sheltered her in his heavenly bushes, where she has bloomed every spring since then, filling the heavenly forest with a fragrance.

And then it so happened that the daughter of Zeus and Ceres - Proserpina - tore violets in those forests, and at that time she was kidnapped by the sudden appearance of Pluto. The frightened Proserpina dropped the flowers from her hands, and they fell to the ground … Since then, we have enjoyed these spring flowers with a unique aroma. This story served the ancient Greeks' perception of violets as a flower of sadness and death, therefore, violets were used to decorate both the deathbed and the graves of young, prematurely dead girls.

At the same time, this flower, as a gift and message to Proserpina, given every spring to Mother Ceres, served the Greeks as a symbol of nature that revives each year in spring and was the motto of Athens. Pindar sang it as a city crowned with violets, painters and sculptors depicted Athens as a woman with a wreath of violets on her head.


Wreaths and bouquets of violets adorned the clothes and dwellings of the ancient Greeks, statues of domestic gods. In those days, there was a charming custom - to decorate with violets children who have reached the age of three on the day of the spring holiday, which meant their entry into life as small citizens.

Violets were the favorite flowers of the Greeks. Homer, speaking of the charming grotto of the nymph Callipso, painted it with such wonderful violets that even the eternally hurrying and not stopping at anything, Mercury could not help slowing down his pace.

The Romans were also very fond of violets. They appreciated and used them as a medicinal herb, added to wine, which was called the spring drink. The outskirts of Rome, like Athens, were occupied by plantations of violets, which were used on the occasion of almost all religious festivals and any joyful events. Pliny complained about this, saying that it would be better if these lands were occupied by useful olive groves. Violets were sung by the best Roman poets, their image was minted on the coins of the city of Genna in Sicily.

And among the ancient Gauls, the violet was also one of the favorite flowers, it served as a symbol of innocence, modesty and virginity. She was strewn with the wedding bed of the newlyweds and at the same time decorated the grave of the untimely dead bride. The descendants of the Gauls - the French adopted the love for these charming flowers, awarding the winners of poetry competitions in Toulouse with a golden violet, one of the highest awards.

Violets were passionately loved by famous characters in French history - favorites of kings, famous actresses. They say that the famous actress Clairon, who lived at the end of the 18th century, was so fond of this flower that one of her admirers started a greenhouse of violets for her. For 20 years all year round, Clairon received a bouquet of violets every morning. In turn, showing him no less constancy, Clermont picked one flower every evening and brewed from it a love potion - Elisire d'amore.

A passionate admirer of violets was the famous Sarah Bernhardt, whose whole apartment and dresses were said to be fragrant with the scent of violets, and the whole house was adorned with bouquets of these wonderful flowers all year round.

Violets played a special role in the fate of Empress Josephine Beauharnais, Napoleon's wife. They reminded her of the return of freedom. At the beginning of the revolution, Josephine, like many other innocent victims, was imprisoned in the Conciergerie (preliminary prison), where she awaited execution by the guillotine from minute to minute. One evening, the jailer's little daughter came to her and brought a bouquet of violets. Josephine took this as a sign of an imminent change in fate, and indeed, the efforts of her high-ranking friend were crowned with success, and she was soon released. Since then, the violet has become a symbol of life and happiness for Josephine. She gave these flowers to those who were unhappy and suffering, so that the hope of a happy turn of fate would not leave them.

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On their first meeting with the young General Bonaparte, Josephine's hair and dress were decorated with violets, and at parting a bunch of flowers fell at her feet. Napoleon picked it up, pressed it passionately to his lips and took it with him as a pledge of their love.

Then, when on March 9, 1796, they were married in the Paris City Hall, Josephine was dressed in a dress woven with violets, in her arms and on her chest were bunches of these fragrant flowers - the flowers of her love and happiness. They remained a symbol of their love, and wherever Napoleon was, there was always a bouquet of fresh violets in his wife's bedroom.

Gradually the fame and power of Napoleon grew, and the star of Josephine began to fade - she could not give the heir to the throne to her husband. Rumors spread that Napoleon was ready to choose a person of the royal family as his wife. It was March 9, 1808, and it was time to hand over a bouquet of violets, but they were not there. The palace gardener died, and there were no violets in all of Paris. Finally, at some old woman, Napoleon saw a basket of violets, delighted, threw gold coins to her, grabbed the best bouquet and triumphantly brought it to Josephine.

She was happy, thanked for the flowers, but suddenly turned pale and almost fainted. Dropped the bouquet, exclaiming with horror: “Get away, away! - these are the flowers of death … They bloomed on the grave! " When the old flower girl was found, she confessed that she had indeed picked flowers from the cemetery, and they were flowers once given by Josephine to the little Dauphin and planted on his grave. From that moment on, there was no peace in Josephine's heart, the presentiment of misfortune did not leave her.

And she really had to part with her beloved one - Napoleon announced to her his decision to divorce and marry the daughter of the Austrian emperor Maria-Louise. Josephine retired to her beloved castle Malmaison, where she lived in seclusion, planting flowers, and only confided her grief to them. But among the garden flowers now there were no longer the violets once adored by her, she could not even hear about them …

Four years later, on March 9, 1814, a three-year-old baby appeared to her with a bouquet of violets - Napoleon's son, and after him the emperor himself. Moved to tears, Josephine threw herself into the arms of her beloved and for a moment forgot about the bitterness of her insult. But this was the last happy moment of her life. Two months later, in the same place stood a coffin with her body, strewn with violets … After the death of Napoleon, two dried violets and a lock of blond hair were found on his chest in a gold medallion: the memory of his morning and evening star - his dear Josephine and his no less dear son - the king of Rome.

Violets in ice, or sugar?


Since ancient times, violets have adorned not only gardens, but also … festive tables. And not so much in bouquets as in vases, bowls and salad bowls.

Few people know that many flowers are edible and have been used as a gourmet culinary delicacy for centuries. So, violets, separated from the green cup, are used to decorate and add aroma, unusual taste to spring green salads. The candied violet flowers are surprisingly beautiful, which decorate desserts of all kinds.

They are prepared as follows: flowers separated from the cups are smeared with fresh chicken protein on both sides with a brush. Then the flowers are powdered with fine granulated sugar, laid out on clean parchment and left in a warm and dry place for 10-12 hours to dry and harden. Candied flowers are kept in a tightly sealed container until use, but not more than two days.

For more reliable and long-term harvesting, instead of protein, gum arabic is used, which is used to lubricate flower petals before dusting with sugar. Having bought it in a pharmacy, 1 teaspoon of gum arabic is diluted in 1.5 tablespoons of water or gin, vodka. Flowers candied in this way can be stored in a sealed container for several months.

Violet flowers can be frozen in ice cube trays, and flowered ice can be served with cold drinks, to cool tea, juice. At the same time, molds are poured not only with water, but also with lemonade, fruit juice. Please and surprise yourself and your loved ones with the exquisite decoration of the spring table!

Elena Kuzmina

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