December 23, 2013

5 Christmas Presents from Provence

5 Christmas Presents from Provence

A visit to Provence can be a sensory overload: Purple-blue lavender rows combing the landscape Market stalls brimming with wild mushrooms in a palette of earthy browns Pincushions of creamy goat cheese Butcher shop chickens roasted on portable spits on Sunday mornings Rosé chilling tableside What should I take home from Provence? Nutmeg often gets asked this question by friends who are visiting Provence, these are five gifts that she would suggest, each one uniquely representative of the region. (more…)

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August 22, 2011

Lavender Fuseaux A Dying Art in Provence

Lavender Fuseaux A Dying Art in Provence

One of the things on Nutmeg’s “Top-10” list for their trip to France was to behold the lavender in bloom. Arriving in October after the lavender season, with only the winter months ahead, it would be a long wait. The happy news is that even in January, the fields are beautiful (see below). The wait was well worth it, in the last few weeks of June when the weather is Provencal “perfect” the countryside comes alive, awash in shades of purple. The fields flower at slightly different times depending on the plant variety, the altitude, specific geographic area and of course mother nature herself. In other words, one “field” trip will not suffice. With their cameras prepared, Ginger and Nutmeg were fortunate on several occasions to witness the fields in full colour and take some of their own pictures. Click here to see the whole gallery. So what happens to all that lavender? Much of the lavender is distilled to create essential oil and fragrant water. The plants are also dried and used to create scented objects for personal use. Stores in Provence are overrun with all things lavender; soap, perfume, honey, tea, ice cream and scented packages. A majority of the product sold in stores is mass-produced outside of France and hardly artisanal. However, there are a dedicated few who are still focused on quality and are attempting to keep the traditions alive. Several cultivators are growing their lavender plants in a totally organic fashion, despite the burdensome paperwork requirements imposed on “Bio” operations. (more…)

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