How Lavender Can Help Bring Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis Home This Mother’s Day
This Mother’s Day, pamper Mom with a thoughtfully curated gift, with the help of professionals at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. Hotel experts have looked to lavender, the flowering plant in the mint family, to craft four signature experiences at home that unlock the beauty and fragrance of the fresh herb.
Lavender is a shrub-like perennial that thrives in hot, sunny locations, making spring an ideal time of year to plant these purple beauties. “We generally seek out potted ‘culinary’ lavender plants from local nurseries and use organic potting soil,” says Director of Catering and Conference Services Kristen Swidrak. “Lavender is as visually striking as it is flavourful and aromatic.”
Here’s how Swidrak uses the herb to create a garden-like tablescape perfect for high tea or an intimate backyard celebration:
- Line 4-6 potted plants (consider white porcelain or ceramic containers), down the centre of a rectangular table, or cluster in the middle for maximum impact on a round table setting. “Lavender is a beautiful plant all on its own; simplicity in its presentation is key,” explains Swidrak.
- Add a delicate and fragrant touch to the setting by placing one gently cut sprig of lavender between the cloth napkin and napkin holder on each place setting.
Cinder Bar Supervisor Bridger Dale shares his recipe for a Lavender Martini, a straightforward and refreshing handcrafted cocktail. “Culinary lavender, sometimes called English lavender, has a light citrus flavour and is subtly sweet,” says Dale. “We generally grow ours on the 8th floor Sky Terrace, but the plant will thrive in any sunny location.” Dale’s recipe for the cocktail is surprisingly simple, featuring only a few ingredients and is perfect to enjoy during the warm summer months ahead.
- 1.5 oz Uncle Val’s Botanical gin
- 1.5 oz Lillet Blanc
- 5 lavender leaves
- Twist of lemon peel for garnish
Muddle the fresh lavender leaves with a splash of water in a mixing glass. Add Uncle Val’s Botanical gin and the Lillet Blanc to the mixing glass. Add ice to mixing glass. Stir gently for 30 seconds before fine straining mixture into a chilled couple glass. Squeeze the oils of a lemon peel over the glass. Garnish with a fresh lavender sprig and twist of lemon before serving.
Cinder House restaurant and James Beard Award winning Chef Gerard Craft puts lavender to work in a flavourful seasoning for lemon and herb roasted chicken. “Fresh lavender is a terrific herb to work with, it really marries well with rosemary for roasting - the flavours balance each other out in a magical way,” says Craft. Ingredients for Craft’s seasoning can be found in most grocery stores; seasoning is intended for a whole chicken (average weight of 4-7 pounds, serving 4-6 people).
- 4 large sprigs of fresh lavender
- 4 large sprigs of rosemary
- 1 lemon
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large russet potatoes diced
- 2 yellow onions, sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the inside and outside of chicken, and pat dry with paper towels. Place whole chicken in lightly greased large roasting pan of choice. Puncture holes in lemon before placing whole lemon and sprigs of lavender and rosemary in the cavity of chicken; season inside of cavity with salt and pepper. Lightly toss diced potatoes and sliced onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper before placing in bottom of roasting pan. Place chicken on bed of potatoes and onions, creating a nice nest for roasting. Place roasting pan on the centre rack in the oven. Roast at 450 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until the chicken thigh registers 165 degrees.
Inspired by the Hotel’s popular spa treatment Lavender Dreams, Spa and Salon Director Erin Stewart shares details for crafting a luxurious body scrub that is gentle enough to use daily. “The fragrance from the oil of lavender plants is believed to help promote calmness in addition to having antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. This lavender sugar scrub will gently exfoliate skin, leaving it soft and silky smooth – especially around the knees, elbows and feet,” says Stewart.
- 1 wide mouth jar (half pint, wide mouth mason jars are terrific)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil or 1 teaspoon of heavily muddled fresh lavender
In a sauce pan, gently melt the coconut oil on low heat until it melts. Remove sauce pan from heat. Add the lavender oil (or muddled fresh lavender) and sugar to the coconut oil. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Remove from sauce man and quickly transfer to container of choice.
After a fun-filled Mother’s Day celebration, consider adding the lavender plants to an existing garden or a favourite patio planter box. This is a sustainable gift that can be enjoyed for months to come.