At Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, courgettes (zuchinni) are grown for their flowers. Most of the courgettes don’t make it into the kitchens, although any that grow to be marrows are used for chutney.

They grow Milano di Nero, a variety that grows a lot of large flowers. And they need a lot – the kitchen uses 200 flowers a day throughout the summer. Buying these in would cost £1.15 or so a flower! But the main reason Le Manoir grows their own is to ensure the quality is high – the flowers are delicate, and best eaten without hours of being picked, so shipping them in is tricky. Parthenon also has suitable flowers.

Flowers from other squash are not normally used, being a bit papery and flaky.

A courgette flower was served as part of our lunch, stuffed with fresh peas and mint.

Explore other parts of the garden at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons: