Greece’s Feast of the Flowers is not a literal feasting on flowers. It’s a celebration of springtime, the hearth’s rebirth. If you are interested in actually dining on flowers, though, there are a surprising number of options.
Gardenias, hibiscuses, jasmines, lavender, pansies, roses, and violets are among popular flowers that can be eaten and enjoyed. Some may be an acquired taste, but the ones just mentioned tend to be the least offensive varieties. About.com’s home cooking site offers some great introductory descriptions of edible flowers. Please, please, please keep in mind though that some flowers don’t just taste bad—they’re toxic. So be careful what you not only put in your mouth, but what you use to garnish your plates.
Edible flowers can be used in teas, liquors, and punches as well as in salads and on cakes and other pastries.
Diana Henry talks about the ancient uses of flowers and the contemporary use of cooking with flowers in Middle Eastern cooking in her article “Heaven scent: cooking with flowers” for the Telegraph.
You might be interested to know that many Greek pastries, such as kourabiedes, call for orange flower water.