2018 was the Year of the Pickle. 2019 is shaping up to be the Year of the Unusual Valentine’s Day Bouquet. As such, are you surprised that a pickle bouquet has been created for Valentine’s Day 2019? I am not — and I am even less surprised that the pickle bouquet is the creation of beloved pickle company Grillo’s Pickles. The one downside is that you can’t actually buy the pickle bouquet; however, you can make one yourself—and it’s probably not as hard to do so as you think. Do you have a pickle lover in your life? Surprise them with a Grillo’s Pickles bouquet on Valentine’s Day this year. Or on any day of the year, for that matter. It’s always a good time for pickles, right?
Grillo’s Pickles has been a Boston favorite for over 10 years now; when founder Travis Grillo began selling pickles made from an old family recipe out of the back of his car in 2008, it proved to be just the start of what would become a hit with brine lovers everywhere. More than a decade later, Grillo’s spears and chips are widely available at grocery stores across the country — and occasionally in other forms, too, such as the Sam-Sam The Pickle Man beer collab with Down The Road Beer Co. that made the rounds last summer.
And now, we’ve got the pickle bouquet, which is a first for the company, according to Travis Grillo. Behold!
Why a pickle bouquet? Well, why not? Said Grillo in a statement provided to Bustle, “We’ve always had fun involving pickles around all types of holidays and we felt pickles needed a little more love during Valentine’s Day.” What’s more, he pointed out, a pickle bouquet is also “far more creative” than standard Valentine’s Day fare like roses or chocolates (although, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with roses or chocolates, either). Continued Grillo, “We know there are a lot of pickle lovers out there that would love nothing more than to get a Valentine’s Day gift loaded with their favorite snack” — and given the Moment-with-a-capital-M pickles have been having lately… well, let’s just say he’s not wrong.
Alas, the pickle bouquet itself is not available for purchase — but Grillo has been encouraging people to get crafty and make them themselves this year. “For readers looking to make their very own pickle bouquet this year, simply pick up your favorite flavor of hand-packed Grillo’s — Italian Dill, Hot Italian Dill or Bread & Butter — at any local retailer, arrange the pickle spears and chips into bouquet shape using bamboo kebab skewers and toothpicks, and garnish with your choice of festive — and tasty — extras,” he said in a statement provided to Bustle.
Here’s how to do it.
The first thing you’ll need are the two main ingredients: Grillo’s Pickle Spears and some wooden skewers on which to mount them. Those are easily acquired — and they’ll only set you back a few bucks apiece.
However, you can also up the spice a bit by swapping out the Italian Dill pickles for Grillo’s Hot Italian Dill variety. These ones might be a little trickier to find, depending on where you are — in my neck of the woods, for example, the Hot Italian Dill pickles are much less commonly encountered than the straight-up Italian Dill ones — but if there’s a Whole Foods near you, that might be a good place to start.
Of course, if hot pickles aren’t your recipient’s (or your) thing, then by all means, stick with the original Italian Dill spears instead. Either way, though, once you’ve gotten a hold of your pickles and your skewers, start spearing the pickles on your skewers until you’ve got an appropriately-sized bunch.
Now, you could just stop there — but there’s more at work in the original bouquet than just cucumber pickle spears and skewers, though, so if you truly want to recreate Grillo’s creation, you’ll need to put in a little more effort. If you look closely at the image, there are also whole garlic cloves, sprigs of fresh dill, pickle chips, and two kinds of peppers buried in the bouquet. Oh, and the pickle chips and one of the two pepper varieties? They've actually been speared together to make little pickle-pepper roses. Now that's dedication.
For the chips, you could use any of Grillo’s three varieties (Italian Dill, Hot Italian Dill, or Bread and Butter); the Italian Dill ones will likely be easiest to find, though.
You’ll want to grab the rest of the ingredients wherever you like to do your produce shopping — grocery store, farmer’s market, whatever. When it comes to the peppers, odds are good that they’re jalapenos and orange habaneros; besides the fact that they, y’know, look like jalapenos and orange habaneros, those varieties are what give Grillo’s Hot Italian Dill spears and chips their fiery kick. It’s not clear whether the peppers in the bouquet have been pickled or not, but fresh, whole peppers would definitely get the job done, too.
I’ll be honest: Those pickle-pepper roses look tough to make. From what I can tell, they start with a habanero speared upside down on a skewer; then pickle chips are carefully wrapped around it. More skewers — or smaller, cut-up bits of skewers — are then stabbed through both the chips and the pepper in order to keep the whole thing in place. You might need an extra hand with this step, so consider enlisting help from an assistant before you get started on the whole bouquet-making process.
Then, it’s time to add the finishing touches: Spear some jalapenos and garlic cloves on more skewers, tuck in some sprigs of fresh dill, and if you’re feeling really ambitious, wrap the whole thing in some additional greenery. Something leafy and a few accent flowers should work; you can vary the shades, but if you want something classic, you can’t go wrong with green and white.
Now, it’s worth noting that this bouquet is going to be quite a bit heavier than a bouquet of flowers usually is. As such, you might want to forgo wrapping it in florist’s paper and presenting it as a typical bouquet; I’d recommend getting a vase, sticking a block of floral foam in the bottom of it, and jamming the bottom ends of your pickle skewers in the foam. That should give your creation the support it needs to stay standing.
And there you have it! May the pickle odds be ever in your favor — and may your favorite pickle fan be surprised and delighted by your magnificent work of edible art. Head here to find where you can get Grillo’s Pickles near you.
Happy Valentine’s Day!