A Whole Lotta Lavender

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UPDATE: Click here to see a slideshow of the Lakeside Lavender Festival.

A big basket of lavender from the Lakeside Lavender Festival in Nampa.
  • Guy Hand
  • A big basket of lavender from the Lakeside Lavender Festival in Nampa.

Lavender isn’t just for grannie’s potpourri anymore. An ancient herb that Romans used to spike their bathhouse water, that young girls hawked as bouquets on the streets of Dickensian London, that World War I hospital workers used to swab their operating room floors, lavender is also a culinary herb.

I was reminded of that over and over again while prowling the Lakeside Lavender Festival in Nampa a couple of weeks ago for a story in the upcoming July 27 issue of BW. Lavender is related to mint, marjoram and sage, and at the festival, I found it slipped into cookies, lemonade, ice cream, lattes and a tasty poached salmon lunch. Steve Clark, who owns the Lakeside Lavender Farm, told me that “that’s been one of the fun aspects of the whole lavender business for us is introducing people to the food.”

I also learned that chefs Dustin Bristol at Brick 29, Nick Duncan at La Belle Vie and Franck Bacquet at Le Coq Rouge are all cooking with lavender. Check out the whole lavender-infused story in BW.