What’s the hot new color in food today? Last year purple was big on the food trend scene. On farmers markets and restaurant menus we saw lots of heirloom and specialty vegetables in various shades of the color purple—purple potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower and more. In 2009 black was the new black in food.
So, what’s the hip hue in food for 2011? Looks like it’s lavender.
In the world of food, lavender doubles as both a color and a flavor—and we’re seeing it everywhere it seems. Lavender is emerging as a “hint flavor” in baked goods such as cupcakes and macaroons. It’s beginning to show up in herbal-infused cocktails; even a chain as mainstream as Ruby Tuesday has introduced a new lavender lemon drop cocktail to keep pace with the lavender food trend.
Today you can find lavender syrup and lavender-infused sugars in teas and yogurts served in many trendy restaurants, and used as a garnish in cocktails, entrees and desserts.
Its flavor and aromatic qualities make lavender a prime example in the wave known as Sensory Appeal™ in CultureWaves. Lavender impacts multiple senses in most pleasurable ways.
As described on the website Everything-Lavender.com, there are many ways to use lavender in cooking. You can use the flowers, buds, leaves or stems. Lavender can be tossed onto fresh salads; buds can be used to make tea; when smoking meats, a bundle of lavender added to the grill imparts a welcome if subtle added flavor. You can even use the stems as kabob skewers.
Home cooks have begun to use lavender extract, employing it as a flavor alternative (or in addition) to vanilla.
Here are just a few examples of how lavender is coloring the landscape of the food business.
- Sip Natural Craft Soda Company offers lavender lemon peel as one of its three flavors.
- Baltimore area restaurant Jack’s Bistro lists pink-peppercorn-lavender as one of its popular ice cream flavors on the menu
- Ayala’s line of herb-infused bottled waters includes a lavender mint lemongrass thyme flavor
- In the spirits realm, Tru organic gin contains lavender as part of its blend
- Just this month Lavender Olive Oil Cake took home the grand prize in the Mediterranean Inspirations recipe contest sponsored by Crisco.
Want to put a little more lavender into your life? And into your recipe repertoire? As a salute to our food color of the year, The Food Channel will be featuring delicious recipes in which lavender plays a starring role over the next several days. You can check them out in the space below as we add them each day, or find them in the Recipe of the Day feature on The Food Channel home page.
Check out a few of these delicious recipes in FirstPerson