I have been gardening most of my life but am the most fond of my herbs and tomatoes as well as the many orchids I have kept over the years. If you don’t have a lot of time for gardening or if you don’t have the best soil, an herb plant that will thrive despite less than perfect conditions and cold weather is lavandula officinalis or lavender. Or if you don’t garden, you can buy some at Lavender by the Bay in the town of East Marion. They have the most extensive and beautiful lavender gardens west of Bordeaux.
I prize the penetrating scent and taste of this herb and love it so much that I planted a bed of it at the entrance of the hotel. On dewey evenings, it’s seductive scent lingers in the air and on your skin and finds its way to many uses for at the hotel. Lavender is said to help reduce anxiety and to enhance the quality of sleep and is also a great bug repellent and antiseptic.
We harvest lavender buds for a relaxing tea and for our own blend of herbs de Provence as well as lemonade. The biggest harvest goes into our simple syrup that we use in cocktails and for mocktails and desserts.
This syrup is very versitile and is a favorite of many of our regulars. Recently one of our customers requested the recipe for lavender syrup after she came in with her mother and ordered one of our alcohol-free “Aromatherapy Spritzer” made with lavender syrup. This is for you Penny!
1 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp lavender flowers
Bring water and lavender to a boil in a saucepan.
Add sugar and honey and stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved.
Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, allow to cool, strain and bottle.
Note: Unless you are having an event, this should be made in small batches as it does not retain its flavor or properties for more than a week.