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Three ways to introduce lavender into your culinary repertoire

Lavender has been a trendy addition to gourmet dishes for some time now, and rightly so. It brings a floral lightness and strong fragrance that pairs well with meats as well as desserts. Bistro du Midi (right near the Arlington Green Line stop) is the place to go to explore lavender—it’s incorporated in everything from beignets and French toast to duck. But if you’re not in the mood for an expensive meal, there are plenty of ways to try lavender at home.

Source: Hy-Vee Health State of Mind

Source: Hy-Vee Health State of Mind

My favorite is Dagoba’s lavender blueberry dark chocolate. The chocolate is 59% cacao and thus isn’t very bitter. This complements the strong and aromatic lavender. The blueberry doesn’t add much, but the flavors are perfectly balanced and the chocolate is impossibly smooth.

Source: The Sweetest Occasion

Source: The Sweetest Occasion

If you would rather try lavender in a drink, I recommend DRY Soda’s lavender soda. Living up to its name, DRY Soda is very dry and not too sweet. Although it would be ideal for a cocktail, it’s also a refreshing and unique beverage on its own. The lavender soda is ideal for someone just trying out the herb as the flavoring is very light and comes more as a fragrant aftertaste.

Source: Williams-Sonoma

Source: Williams-Sonoma

Finally, if you are itching to use lavender in a recipe, Williams-Sonoma’s lavender-lemon Bundt cake is the place to start. The ingredients are all standard ones you probably already have at home (if you like to bake!), but you will need a tablespoon of culinary lavender. You can get nine grams of French lavender at Williams-Sonoma for just under $8. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment—lavender keeps for quite a while and can add a twist to stews, meats, desserts, and drinks. Lemon and lavender is a classic combo and this cake blends them effortlessly. The lavender isn’t too strong and adds a layer of complexity to a classic lemon cake.  The recipe is simple enough, but the product is outstanding: delicious, light, elegant, and perfect for spring!

-Joyce Harduvel

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