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Osmantus flower of fall - aromatic local snacks

By Gao Ceng  (Shanghai Daily)

13:30, October 18, 2012

(File Photo)

Shanghai Daily tastes four dishes created by Chinese chefs to celebrate this aromatic season, from classical to modern style.

Osmanthus ice cream

Chef Du from Hyatt on the Bund creates a new taste sensation, osmanthus ice cream.

"From now until next month is the best time to taste this dessert because the floral fragrance is most intense," the chef says.

Dried osmanthus mixed into the cream changes the traditional sweet and milky flavor, making it richer and floral, with a long aftertaste.

It's as if there's a fresh petal in the mouth.

The chef recommends osmanthus ice cream with his jasmine tiramisu.

"The two desserts express different flower bouquets, but both are elegant and implicit, not tainting but complementing each other. The cheese-like texture of tiramisu highlights the silky texture of ice cream," he says.

Where to taste:
Venue: Xin Da Lu China Kitchen, Hyatt on the Bund
Address: 1/F, 199 Huangpu Rd,Shanghai
Tel: 6393-1234 ext 6318

Braised ham with osmanthus syrup

Dark red, finely textured ham from Yunnan Province is sliced thin, covered with thick, crystal-like osmanthus syrup and topped with dried petals.

"It features premium ingredients, complex culinary craft and seasonal fragrance," says chef Gao at Pudong Shangri-La.

The thick syrup decocted from osmanthus, crystal sugar and kumquat is smooth and sweet with a hint of fruity sourness, giving a rounder taste and fresh note to the salty, smoky ham. The meat is braised in chicken and pigeon soup for a long time before it absorbs all the flowers and becomes rich and savory. Then comes the osmanthus syrup for a balanced flavor contrast.

Osmanthus rice cake

Osmanthus rice cakes are traditional steamed dim sum made from glutinous rice filled with osmanthus and jujubes, another autumn ingredient. It's a classic case of using osmanthus to enhance a dessert.

Adding it to the sweet jujubes creates a distinctive floral taste complementing the fruit. A little olive oil is added to the filling, creating a textural contrast.

A cup of osmanthus tea (using a single dried flower) is recommended to make the taste more floral and to cleanse the palate.

Where to taste:
Venue: Gui Hua Lou, Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai
Address: 1/F, 33 Fucheng Rd, Pudong
Tel: 6882-8888 ext 220

Glutinous rice ball with osmanthus and fermented rice

This classic Shanghai dim sum has a distinctive aroma and taste, two kinds of sweetness from petals and rice.

Chef Wang from the Grand Hyatt Shanghai sources golden osmanthus from Hangzhou. "Rice balls and fermented rice are both white, which makes the dish visually too dull and simple," he says. "Golden osmanthus vitalizes the presentation and adding it is my way to show respect to the autumn season."

Added osmanthus develops more sweetness in the fermented rice, thus avoiding the use of crystal sugar, which can overwhelm the rice.

Where to taste:
Venue: Club Jin Mao, Grand Hyatt Shanghai
Address: 86/F, 88 Century Ave, Pudong
Tel: 5047-1234 ext 8778

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