Shades of the South
Southern France is known for its colors of the earth – one of those colors is purple lavender. The perfumed plant called LAVENDER is naturally at home in this sun drenched area of France!
The fragrance of Lavender is smooth, delicate and unmistakable. This plant originates as far back as Tutankhamun and Jesus – Tombs were fragranced with it and feet anointed, but even as historical as that is, it is really accurate to say that “Lavender is the soul of Provence”.
It originated in France around 600BC when traders from Greece came. The plant quickly acclimated and flourished under the Provencial sun. This plant and the climate of Provence attracted artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Matisse and Gauguin who used this deep colored flower in many of their paintings.
The region of Provence is one of the worlds largest lavender producers. It’s essential oils are used to make candles, beauty products and other perfumed items. Image result for images of lavender flowers on top of cheese
Harvest time is from June to August when the flowers are dried to be used as herbs, in herb mixes and using the oil from the flower for perfumes, soaps and candles. The first perfume factories in Grasse (one being Galimard in 1747) still today has a following.
NOTE: Cleopatra is said to have seduced Julius Casear and Mark Antony while wearing lavender perfume.
While the beautiful fragrance has been historical in seduction it also has a history of being used as a medicinal – It has been used to help burns heal quicker and is currently being tested to reduce the size of cancerous tumors. Lavender is a valuable source of nectar for bees, producing a wonderful honey. And the flowers are used culinarily as well, lending a floral, slightly sweet, and elegant flavor to many dishes. It pairs well with sheep and goat cheeses—a few little buds atop lavender honey would be the perfect finishing touch.
Lavender Earl Grey Tea
A lovely bit of lavender hospitality….
- 1/2 cup English breakfast tea leaves
- ½ cup Orange pekoe tea leaves
- 1/3 cup Earl Grey tea leaves
- 1-2 tablespoons dried lavender
Toss in a bowl; store in a tea tin and brew, as per regular black tea. This is nice if you find lilac coloured, linen to make tea bags from.
Aubergine Antiques carries bundles of lavender as seen below on the beautiful buffet d’corps also from the Southern region of France. This buffet d’corps is available for purchase as is the lavender bouquets.
Herbs de Provence is another common sight at this French culinary shop located in downtown Fairhope, AL – Come visit us and gather up your supply of lavender products.