Flowers also yield abundant nectar from which bees make a high-quality honey. Monofloral honey is produced primarily around the Mediterranean, and is marketed worldwide as a premium product. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. Lavender flavors baked goods and desserts (it pairs especially well with chocolate), as well as used to make "lavender sugar". Lavender flowers are occasionally blended with black, green, or herbal tea, adding a fresh, relaxing scent and flavor.
Though it has many other traditional uses in southern France, lavender is not used in traditional southern French cooking. In the 1970s, an herb blend called herbes de Provence and usually including lavender was invented by spice wholesalers, and lavender has more recently become popular in cookery.
Lavender lends a floral and slightly sweet flavor to most dishes, and is sometimes paired with sheep's-milk and goat's-milk cheeses. For most cooking applications the dried buds (also referred to as flowers) are used, though some chefs experiment with the leaves as well. Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, which is where the scent and flavor of lavender are best derived.
The French are also known for their lavender syrup, most commonly made from an extract of lavender. In the United States, both French lavender syrup and dried lavender buds make lavender scones and marshmallows.
Herb / Spice
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