I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t fully understand the appeal of lavender in food until recently. For me, lavender walks a fine line between “lovely and floral” and “soap.” You think it’s a subtle flavor, but too much of it makes me think I’m eating those little miniature soaps wrapped in paper that my Grandma used to keep in the bathroom (we couldn’t use them though! This was DECORATIVE soap!). While they did look edible, with their pretty patterned wrappers and smooth surfaces reminiscent of chocolate, they were most definitely not. I MAY have scraped some off with a fingernail and tested it, just to make sure. Look, we all ate strange things when we were six, right?
But last year we took a trip to Hokkaido to see the epic flower fields, including a lavender farm. Leading up to the trip, I’d had dreams of strolling through fields of purple, under a blue sky, with bluebirds singing, surrounded by the lovely scent of fresh lavender.
That’s not EXACTLY what happened. A few things you need to know before taking a trip like this:
1. Lavender doesn’t really give off a scent until you release its oils (i.e. crush or heat it…). So unless you walk ON the lavender, it’s not going to smell.
2. You’re not the only one who wants to see the lavender. LOOOOOTS of other people want to see it to. Also, most songbirds don’t like large group of people so there go the bluebirds.
3. There’s a good chance of rain during lavender season which causes the blue sky thing to not happen. And it also makes walking on dirt paths significantly less pleasant.
There’s a lesson here that I’m still learning while traveling: go into a trip with fairly low expectations. Then you’ll be pleasantly surprised when it’s better than you expected!
Now, I don’t want you to think I was disappointed in the trip to Hokkaido. While the lavender fields were less impressive than I had hoped, the other flower fields were spectacular. Rows of carefully-planted flowers created giant striped patterns as far as the eye could see. Lavender soft serve, fresh giant crab, a great craft beer scene…it’s one of my favorite cities in Japan!
- 2 cups blueberries (preferably organic)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon culinary dried lavender
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Combine the blueberries, water, sugar, and lavender in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and stir.
- 1 cup soda water or tonic water
- 3 tablespoons lavender blueberry syrup (above)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Fill a large glass with ice.
- Pour all of the ingredients into a tall glass full of ice. Stir to combine.