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Hyllest produces different types of elderflower drinks.
Meant to be? A Danish teacher moved to a small Norwegian valley and is producing one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages on the market. By Eva-Kristin U. Pedersen
Photos: Hilde Mork
For Mie Dahlman Jensen, back in Denmark, elderflowers grew everywhere. Almost regardless of where you went, you could go out and fetch some of the characteristic white flowers, and it was custom to make elderflower juice in the summer. You’d just go out, pick the flower and go home and cook them. Dahlman Jensen was surprised, therefore, when she realised that elderflowers are not nearly as common in Norway as they are in Denmark. Although the wild plant with the strongly-scented white flowers grows just as easily in Norway as it does in Denmark, and indeed in most of the rest of the world, few if anyone made much use of it. 68 |
The harvest is on.
That’s why Dahlman Jensen was so thrilled to find elderflowers growing on her neighbours’ land when she moved to a small, tucked-away place in Telemark, Norway. She went and knocked on their door and asked if they would let her take some. “I never expected success. I started and thought, ‘let’s see how it goes’,” she says. That was in 2013, and Dahlman Jensen produced a timid volume of 500 bottles. Today, her company Hyllest produces some 15,000 bottles a year of various variants of elderflower juices. They deliver to several Michelin-star restaurants and even to The Royal Palace. “When I look back, I can’t help but ask myself if it was meant to be,” she smiles. The jasmine of the north Elderflower is a plant that grows in most parts of the world, though it’s not neces-