Today we took a lovely field trip to West Stockbridge, Massachusetts to visit Charles H. Baldwin & Sons. What a treasure! Known for their vanilla extract, this shop has caught the attention of detail oriented cooks such as Martha Stewart, who (despite the fact if you love her or hate her) has, in our opinion, perfectly fabulous taste and creativity.
The fantastic woman who was running the shop took the time to answer our questions and provide us with materials regarding the history of this shop which is, in part, set back in time. Begun in the late 1800’s the original owner, Charles Baldwin “peddled extracts all over the Northeast while his wife stayed home and raised the family, tended the farm and packed up the orders to ship to her husband for distribution”.
We knew we were going to use our newly purchased vanilla to make a summery lavender vanilla milkshake.
We began by placing three heaping spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream into a frozen mixing bowl. To that we added a teaspoon of Charles H. Baldwin & Sons vanilla, a splash of heavy cream, a cup or so of milk and some crushed lavender flowers. We used our hand mixer to combine them to a rather thick consistency.
It was a sweet and tasty shake with a very subtle hint of lavender. Perfect for a summer afternoon out on the porch.
Charles H. Baldwin & Sons is located at 1 Center Street in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. You can visit their web site at
** Please Note when looking for culinary lavender it is important to avoid lavender sold in craft or floral shop because those types are often treated with sprays.**