“Lavender month” is lavishly celebrated in Sonoma County in purple fields and with lavender-infused dishes and drinks. Click through the gallery above for some of the best ways to enjoy the fragrant flower in June and throughout the year, and check out the recipes below for some lavender treats from Chef Sondra Bernstein of the Girl and the Fig restaurant in Sonoma.
Karen Kizer and Meg McConahey contributed to this article.
Lavender Mojito by Sondra Bernstein
Makes 2 cocktails
4 ounces light rum
16–20 fresh mint leaves
Juice of 2 limes
2 ounces Lavender Simple Syrup
Lavender sugar rim or lavender sprigs, for garnish
Muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of a pint glass. Add the rum, lime juice, and lavender simple syrup and muddle a bit more. Add the ice, stir, and top with a splash of Club Soda. Garnish with a lime wedge, mint leaves or a lavender sprig.
Lavender Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons culinary lavender
In a saucepot, bring 1 cup of water, sugar, and lavender to a boil. simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and let sit until cool. strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and discard the lavender. Store the lavender simple syrup in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Note: Adjust the amount of lavender and the steeping time based on the strength of the lavender and your personal taste.
½ cup superfine sugar
¼ cup culinary lavender
Place lavender and sugar in a coffee grinder and grind to a fine dust. (Photo by Steven Krause/Plats du Jour)
Goat Cheese & Lavender-Honey Toasts by Sondra Bernstein
Makes about 50 nibbles
½ cup honey
1 tablespoon culinary lavender (save a pinch for garnish)
1 cup fresh goat cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
Place the honey and lavender in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Let the lavender steep in the honey until you have reached the desired intensity. Strain the lavender and set aside.
Place the goat cheese and cream in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add the lavender honey to taste (about 5 tablespoons). Whisk until the mixture is light.
Place the goat cheese mixture on a toasted baguette or cracker of your choice. Drizzle with the honey and garnish with the reserved lavender.
Lavender Crème Brûlée by Sondra Bernstein
2 ¼ cups heavy cream
¾ cup whole milk
3 to 4 sprigs fresh lavender or 1½ tablespoons dried culinary lavender, plus additional for garnish
8 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar plus about 4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the cream and milk in a saucepan and add the lavender. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Let the lavender steep for about 15 minutes or until the milk has a lavender flavor. (For a stronger flavor, allow the lavender to steep longer.)
Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks, ½ cup sugar, and honey until smooth. Whisk it into the lavender-cream mixture. Strain though a fine-mesh sieve and skim off any foam. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Pour the mixture into 6 ramekins or brûlée dishes. Set the ramekins in a baking pan and add enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the baking pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until set. (The custards are done when they stop jiggling.) Remove the baking pan from the oven and allow the ramekins to cool in the water bath for 5 minutes. Refrigerate, covered, for at least three hours or overnight.
Before serving, sprinkle the tops of the ramekins with a few teaspoons of sugar and caramelize with a small torch or under a broiler set on high.