Chilis Spice Up a New Cherry Valley Festival

Highland Springs Ranch & Inn will spotlight all sorts of pepper-tastic bites at the free one-day to-do.

DO YOU LOVE LAVENDER, or are you a bit of a chili aficionado, or would you count yourself a fan of both the incredibly fragrant herb and the incredibly fiery fruit? If you had the chance to spend the day in a field full of beautiful purple blossoms or among dishes loaded with head-clearing panache, where would you head first? Digging both, as you likely do, would make that choice especially challenging, there's no doubt. Good thing, then, that lavender season happens in early summer 'round this larger region, while the rise and rise of piquant peppers is something we start to see as the warm weather weathers on in the direction of July and August. You don't need to let your passions overlap here, but you might return to the same place to enjoy both, if you love lavender and you're peppy over peppers: Highland Springs Ranch & Inn. The historic Cherry Valley destination is know for its soap-tastic, potpourri-mazing lavender in June, but Sunday, July 22 is bringing a fresh and capsaicin-laden bash to the area: The first annual...

CHILI FESTIVAL... will be spicing up the rustic-charmer of a location. And we do mean "spicing up," for cooking demos, a tour of the property's chili pepper crop, and a host of dishes to buy and try are all part of the day. Dishes, let it be known, that will very much spotlight the heat-happening superstar of the festival. Stuffed yellow peppers, chile verde fries, Grand Oak chorizo, bibimbap, a Mexican hot chocolate chili doughnut, spicy lemonade, mango chili sorbet, Hatch chile IPA, Micheladas, and watermelon jalapeño sorbet are all on the day's menu. And if it all reaches peak heat too fast for you, though we're guessing, as a chilihead, it probably can't, check it out: A few lavender-themed drinks and sweets are on the menu, to take you back to the cooler days of early summer.

THE FESTIVAL IS FREE, but, yep, as mentioned, you'll want to bring cash for the yummy cuisine. (Several prices are on the site.) There's a Kid's Area, too, and a place where you can learn how to make a wowza red ristra, the kind that hang handsomely next to so many front doors throughout the Land of Enchantment. Other workshops look winning, including one that leads you through the creation of a cayenne salve. Are you feeling the chili pepper enchantment, now that late summer is on its way? Get the details on Highland Springs Ranch & Inn's spicy celebration now.

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