A journey to Provence is a journey of the senses. The taste of olives and field ripened tomatoes, fresh goat cheese and vegetables, the feel of spring's chilly mistral winds, the sound of not too much noise, and the visual dream-like inducing quality of Van Gogh's starry nights and miles and miles of fields of sunflowers. With a haunting fragrance and a calming rustic elegance, it is, however, the lavender fields nestled among the abbeys of monks in southeastern France that spur the imagination of artists and late summer travelers to this Mediterranean enclave. Culinary lavender such as LE CHATELARD CULINARY LAVENDER lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes and is glorious muddled in a summer drink to be sipped just before dusk when the sun slips from the sky and the color of the drink and the sky are nearly one in the same. This Lavender Martini is best in summertime when sprigs of lavender may be picked from the garden and used as garnish. While any gin may be substituted, the mild lime and lavender flavored Uncle Val's Botanical Gin made in Sonoma wine country is particularly wonderful.
If L'EPICERIE DE PROVENCE LAVENDER SYRUP is unavailable, mix 3 tablespoons culinary lavender, 1 cup castor sugar (superfine sugar), and 1 cup water together. Boil and let sit for several hours to infuse the syrup with the lavender and then strain. Use within 3 days.