If you’re familiar with lavender’s intoxicating fragrance and colorful flowers, but haven’t experienced its appealing taste, a treat is awaiting. From cookies, breads and ice cream to savory dishes, sauces and the famous herbes de Provence seasoning, a hint of lavender enlivens recipes in delightful ways. Many trendy restaurants have begun to capitalize on its sweet mingling of floral, fresh pine and rosemary with citrus notes to accentuate sweet and savory dishes. But don’t let the restaurants have all the fun. Try using lavender in your recipes.
Essential oils that infuse lavender with fragrance also contribute to its flavor, with characteristics varying among species and cultivars. French lavender (Lavandula dentata) tends to be bolder, somewhat medicinal and more pungent in flavor; Spanish lavender (L. stoechas) is more astringent and perceptibly more camphorlike; the lavandins (L. intermedia) are sharper and slightly camphorous, though some varieties, such as ‘Provence’, are mild-flavored.