When I was single, I used cooking with lavender as a litmus test. You see, I once made a dish with herbs de Provence, the classic French herb blend of rosemary, parsley, basil, sweet marjoram, thyme, and most importantly, lavender, for a potential paramour.
Ready for the pounce at the end of the humble feast I’d prepared, I asked the fatal question. “How did you like the chicken?” I hopefully queried. “Strange,” he said, “ it reminded me of soap.”
Suddenly my feelings for him ran cold. Lavender, in my romance-infused, Vaseline-lens-cap-smeared vision, is the ultimate turn on. It’s a Merchant-Ivory film, redolent of Elizabethan gardens and frolicking maidens.
It amuses all of the senses with its dreamy perfume, fuzzy purple flowers perfect for tickling and heady floral taste. In my opinion, a man who only thought of bathing products when faced with the allure of this purple flower was oppressively unimaginative.
Some lavender culinary history
History has it that in order to keep Napoleon’s interest, Josephine would have him drink a concoction made from the fragrant flower and chocolate every night. This became his favorite drink, and no wonder, with the double dose of aphrodisiac magic involved.
What makes a good recipe with lavender?
Lavender isn’t the easiest aphrodisiac ingredient to use in cooking. You see, a little bit goes a long way. Most recipes call for dried lavender for cooking but in some instances, you can use fresh. (My Chicken recipe with lavender uses fresh and my Lavender Crème Brûlee recipe below calls for your choice of dried or fresh lavender flowers.)
Some recipes will call for lavender oil or lavender extract for their lavender flavoring. Make sure the oil you purchase is labeled as an edible lavender oil. (Cooking with essential oils can be dangerous to your digestive system.)
But when the right lavender is used in a subtle but aromatic way, it can create magic!
A romantic menu cooking with lavender
Click on each dish to view the full recipe.
Diane Brown is author of The Seduction Cookbook: Culinary Creations For Lovers
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