What do you think of when you smell fresh bread? For me it’s an early morning waking in Provence with the smell of freshly baked baguettes and good coffee. Provence is known for its delightful scents and tastes that reflect the region’s rich agricultural heritage and culinary traditions. You will, as I have, find this to be true. When you visit your senses will be delighted, and the scents and tastes of Provence you experience, will create lasting memories of your experience.
What are some of the iconic scents of Provence?
- Lavender – the soothing aroma of lavender fields that bloom from June to August. You can however find lavender products throughout the year to enjoy. (See our blog about the Lavender in Provence)
- Herbes de Provence – A fragrant blend of dried herbs, including thyme, rosemary, oregano, savory, and marjoram, often used to season meats, vegetables, and stews.
- The Fruit – Did you know that French melons are perfumed with over 250 aromatic compounds? Yes, 250 compounds! Some argue that it might be the most delicious fruit at a French market. And then there are the citrus fruits. The scent of citrus groves, with oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, fills the air in certain parts of Provence, especially in the winter.
- The Sea – the warm salty air of the Mediterranean sea.
- Le parfum – The French are known for creating beautiful perfume and when in Provence we always visit La Maison Godet Parfum the shop owned and operated by the Godet family since 1901, and now run by the family’s 4th generation, Sonia Godet. Following in the footsteps of her ancestors, Sonia is committed to making perfume a true work of art.
Now let’s talk about the tastes of Provence. There is a misconception that French food is fussy, but in fact it is quite simple – based on fresh, seasonal ingredients. What differs from a North American point of view towards food and eating, is that in France, food is savored and people tend to linger over a meal instead of eating as quickly as possible. This slow approach to dining allows you to truly experience the tastes of the food. C’est le piment de la vie! (It is the spice of life!)
- Some classics…
- Bread: Visit a local boulangerie and you will discover the baguette which is of course synonymous with France, but there is so much more, like the croissant, pain au chocolat, pain de campagne (country bread), and pain poilâne (a round sourdough also known as miche)
- Olive oil: Provence is renowned for producing high-quality olive oil. The region’s olive trees yield a rich and fruity oil that’s used in salads, marinades, and various dishes.
- Sun-ripened tomatoes: The taste of locally grown tomatoes, ripened under the Provencal sun, is vibrant and delicious, making them a staple ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine.
- Garlic: A fundamental ingredient in many Provencal dishes, garlic adds a bold and distinctive flavor to stews, sauces, and more.
These are just a few of the many scents and tastes that make Provence a culinary paradise and a sensory delight! Come and experience the scents and tastes of Provence for yourself on one of our upcoming Jackdaw Journeys trips. Each one of our itineraries is curated to maximize your Provençal experience! Book your spot today.