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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Insanity of Color and a Summery Bougambilia Drink

An Insanity of Color and a Summery Bugambilia Drink
by Victoria Challancin

Every March here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, when the temperature begin their startling climb, the startling dryness begins its work.  Forget what it does to the skin, I say, and look what it does for flowering plants.  Right now, the bugambilias (Spanish spelling), or bougainvilleas, burst into glory and the jacaranda trees shed their lavender-hued grace all over the city.  Dazzling.

When I worked as Culinary Producer for Food Network's Mexican Made Easy's Season Two, Marcela Valladolid, the chef and star, wanted to make a bugumbilia limeade for a show on Baja cooking. And  remembering from when my child was young how Mexican mothers taught me to make a gentle tea for coughs from the blossoms of the purple, only the purple, bugambilia plant, I thought a limeade a perfect idea.

We tested Marcela's Bugambilia Limeade, which I absolutely loved.  Pretty and so "green" tasting.  Yummy.  In the end,though, she opted to showcase a Baja-Style Limeade, which reflects her origins and the wild rosemary which proliferated there.

This recipe is a non-recipe, really.  Make limeade as you normally would, preferably with Mexican or Key limes (not Persians), sweeten with desired sweetener (agave nectar would be lovely), and add a cup or more of tea made from steeping purple bougainvillea blossoms in boiling water.

Bugambilia Limeade

1 cup water
One large handful of clean, purple bougainvillea blossoms (no need to remove stamens)

8 limes (approximately) or 1 cup of fresh lime juice
3 to 4 cups water, or more as preferred
Sweetener, to taste

Bring a coup of water to a boil in a small pot.  Add a large handful of purple bougainvillea blossoms, pressing to submerge.  Allow to steep for 10 minutes.  

Prepare limeade by mixing the lime juice with 3 cups of water.  Sweeten to taste.  Strain the bougainvillea tea into the limeade.  Check and adjust.  Add more water or lime juice as preferred. Serve over ice and decortate with a spare blossom or two.


I'm sendindg this post oever to Rachel at The Crispy Cook,  where Rachel is hosting the Weekend Herb Blog event this week for Haalo at cookalmost  This interesting idea was originally begun by Kalyn at   Thank you fellow bloggers!

Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, México

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.


? said...

Bougainvillea trails over our childhood memories but this recipe is a first! It is summer there and we are waiting for thed warmth of spring here!
Looks gorgeous!

Yvette said...

WOW!!! I just stumbled across your blog! How is that possible? Where have you been all my life? LOL! This bougainvillea drink recipe, your background, and your blog are all amazing! I just subscribed to your blog and look forward to following you!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

That is so beautiful Victoria! I had no idea that you could use bougainvillea flowers. How perfect for Spring!

Rachel said...

What a lovely post on a lovely blog! Thanks for submitting this to Weekend Herb Blogging this week.

brii said...

Victoria, you have a white Bouganivillea!!
they are so rare.
beautiful post, beautiful blog.
thank's for charing this recipe with WHB.

Kalinda said...

Beautiful photos and a beautiful drink. Unfortunately for me, here in Chicago the only flowers blooming are crocuses.

Claudia said...

I had no idea the flowers were edible, thanks for sharing that and your beautiful photos. I have a large bush of the purple, as well as other colors, so will be trying the limeade.

Anonymous said...

Bougainvillea is part of the landscape at the seaside in Italy. I miss it so much! I've never heard it was edible though. I'll give this refreshing drink a try the next time I see some. Thanks!

Leslie Limon said...

Why haven't I ever heard or thought of using Bougainvillea for an Agua Fresca before??? The color is absolutely gorgeous! I need to find me a Bougainvillea tree ASAP!

Victoria at Flavors of the Sun said...

it really is tasty. As I may have said in this post (it was a long time ago and I don't remember), when my child was small, my Mexican friends would tell me to make a hot tea-infusion of bugambilia for a cough. Only purple though. And it seemed to help?