Cooking with Valdesina: “frichioulin” of flowers

Today (finally!) we roll out a series of articles that I’ve desired so long to show you… Since I feel like I’m a little ambassador of Waldensian Valleys, I thought that maybe you’d like to discover some of the traditional meals and dishes from these places, in addition to history, legends and habits of the past… What about learning to cook some typical Waldensian course?

Elder. Do not be greedy and leave some flowers on the tree: in autumn its berries will ripen, and we’ll use them to make a yummy marmalade!

Well, we are in spring time, so I’d like to start with something really easy, sweet (I have to admit that I am very… glutton!) and typical for this season: the “frichioulin” of flowers!
Once people did not use to go to the grocery store as often as we use to do today: people would buy only what they could not grow in their own vegetable garden, prepare at home with what they could get from their animals or pick in the woods… At that time children loved to go and pick acacia and elder flowers, ‘cause they could be used to make sweet and delicious fritters. Would you like to know how to prepare them?
get ready and let’s cook together!

Acacia. Be very careful when you pick flowers from the tree: this plant has big thorns… Ask your dad to pick some flowers for you!

Acacia and elder trees flourish in the woods of Waldensian Valleys, but you can also find them in the plains… Where I come from they’re starting to bloom, while at lower altitudes the flowering is more advanced.
Ok, guys, let’s start: first of all, pick some flowers (of course, keep yourself away from busy roads, and be careful not to find yourself in private properties).
just a little advice: do not overdo your picking, ‘cause too many sweets are not good for your health, and, as well, we have to leave some food to bees and to all of the other inhabitants of the forest, right?!

Ok, I picked some elder… let’s move to the kitchen!

Second step: let’s prepare the batter in which we will dip our beautiful flowers before frying and sprinkling them with honey (ask mom or dad for help!).
The ingredients that you need for 3 people are:
flour: 25 g
sugar: 50 g
1 whole egg
milk: 125 ml

Let’s mix together all of the ingredients… I have some guests today, so my doses are doubled!

Now, as soon as your parents have checked that the oil in the pan is hot enough (I use sunflower oil) dip your flowers in the batter and then fry ‘em until they look like they’re golden. If the batter is too liquid – it may depend on the size of the eggs – add some flour to thicken it.

Cover all of your flowers with the batter, they will taste even better!

While the person at the stove is frying the flower pancakes, you can heat a few tablespoons of honey in a saucepan to make it liquid, and to make it easier to be poured on your “frichioulin”… in order not to burn myself, I put it in a bowl and heated it in the microwave…

Here’s my elderflower frichioulin!

Once the flowers are golden, along with mom or dad you can drain them on paper towels and pour a few drops of honey on them… Be careful, ‘cause they are very very hot!
If you’d like, keep aside a few flowers and use them to decorate your dish and make it even more beautiful.
Very soon I’m going to cook some other dishes with some friends… If you know a recipe from Waldensian Valleys and you’d like to prepare it with me, just send me an e-mail: I’ll come to you and we’ll make it together!
Here’s my e-mail address:
…and please, do not forget to take some beautiful picture with your “frichioulin” of flowers to send me!


The recipe is taken from the book “La cucina valdese” by W. Eynard and G. Pizzardi, Claudiana publishing house.

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