cherry blossom tasting menu
By Liz O'Connor

The changing of seasons holds cultural significance in Japan. In spring, when cherry blossoms, pure white and delicate pink, blanket the trees like the heavy snows of the passing winter, it’s customary to attend Hanami, or cherry blossom parties. The cherry trees are in bloom for a short while before the tiny flowers fall to the ground.
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“It’s very symbolic,” says Chef Josh DeChellis of Sumile in New York of the cherry blossom festivals. “A sort of shaking off of the cold weather.”

Chef DeChellis has taken Japan’s beloved bloom and made a cherry blossom tasting menu at Sumile, fusing the flowers’ “wonderful cherry perfume” with other traditional Japanese ingredients, creating very non-traditional, but exquisite, dishes.

Using blossoms and leaves cured from last season, DeChellis’ menu is both sweet and savory. Starting with a blossom-garnished Champagne cocktail, followed by flavor-rich and delicate fish and duck dishes, and finishing with a cherry blossom panna cotta, the chef’s application of the edible flower is as refreshing as a spring stroll under a promenade of cherry trees.


   Published: March 2005