If it’s Friday, it must be France!
Friday again! It seems to come around faster every week. Ok, I got so caught up in the excitement of the literary history on the Côte D’Azur last Friday that I didn’t get to the other two subjects in my title.
So now it’s on to lavender! Last week we rented a car and drove 2-1/2 hours north to the Valensole area of Provence. We were a little late for the full lavender whammy as the harvest had begun the week before. However, as you can see from my photos, there were still many fields in bloom so we weren’t disappointed. But here’s my word of advice about that: if you want to see the incredibly beautiful effect of the lavender fields in their full glory, go the first week of July. When you open the car windows or step outside, to take way too many photos, the fragrance in the air is amazing!
Of course when you have lavender, you have bees (they’re not interested in you, by the way) and many farms have apiaries to make their own lavender honey. They also often craft their own soaps, candles, and dried lavender products. I have one word for lavender honey – DIVINE! When we popped into one small farm, they were just putting the fresh honey into jars and offered tastes with great pride. We stocked up!
I have to admit I was never a big lavender fan, although I always loved the look of the plant, but after this experience I’ve become a convert. The true fragrance is so pure and sweet. There are also the holistic and aromatherapy benefits to lavender which are many. I had a moment of wishing I still lived in a house with a garden so I could plant some myself. Maybe I’ll try a plant on my condo terrace next summer and see what happens. I did see lots of lavender in pots but suspect they had been there through many winters. Somehow I don’t think that will happen in Toronto!
When you google lavender, there’s a ton of information. You will find some really interesting sites. I’m including a video here that gives excellent information about growing your own lavender. Take a look!
And now on to lunch! We drove to the beautiful (it’s hard to find other words for these places …) village of Moustieres-Ste.-Marie which we have visited on previous trips. In the past, we’ve had some fine meals at a small restaurant there and looked forward to another visit. Yikes! Not going to happen! There were tourists everywhere and the walk to the nearest available parking spot was better suited for a mountain goat. We drove straight through the village and tried to control our whining. Then, voila! Just a few minutes out of town we saw a most inviting sign and quickly pulled in to the Restaurant Ferme Ste.-Cecile. The setting was pastoral and the cuisine was “gastronomique”, specializing in local products and surprisingly reasonably priced. Between the main course and dessert, the chef sent out a serving of perfectly aged chèvre accompanied by a tiny bowl of lavender honey. Bonus! Don’t you love it when a disappointment turns into something unexpectedly wonderful?
Are you a fan of lavender? Do you grow it in your garden? Have you tasted lavender honey? If you have any tips to share with readers about lavender or about your own travel surprises, please add a comment. It’s always so rewarding to receive them!