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The Incredible Herbs of Provence

Provence is one the most beautiful French regions, situated in the southeastern France. Due to the Mediterranean climate, the cuisine of Provence tends to use specific ingredients like olive oil, sardines, lamb, octopus, olives, goats, chickpeas, and a wide range of sweet fruits including apricots, grapes, strawberries, peaches, cherries and melons. Provence is famous not only for its gourmand cuisine and for its delicious wines, but for its herbs too.

The herbs of Provence, or the Provencal herbs, are usually used in the regional cuisine, but they also gain international fame and now they are used worldwide, due to their incredible mixture of Mediterranean aromas. The mixture was invented back in 1970 and since then, people use it to flavor various foods: grilled fish or meat or vegetable stews. But the herbs of Provence go also before or while cooking various foods, other than the grilled or the vegetables one, and the secret is that they go with almost everything.

Provence has many delightful recipes that need to be seasoned or garnished with various herbs. The bouillabaisse is a classic seafood dish popular in Marseille, the tapenade, a delicacy consisting of pureed chopped olives, capers and olive oil, while the Daube Provençale is a stew made of beef mixed with various vegetables.

Like any other cuisine, the Provençale one needs its spices and herbs to give a certain aroma to any food. And spices have a long history, dating back around 50,000 BC, when the earliest evidence of using spice was discovered.

The herbs of Provence have their rightful place in the large family of spices, which can be classified as:

  • dried fruits and seeds (mustard, black pepper)
  • roots and rhizomes (ginger, turmeric)
  • arils(mace)
  • dried buds (cloves)
  • stigmas(saffron)
  • barks(cinnamon)
  • resins(asa foetida)
  • herbs(bay, basil, thyme)

  • The Provencal cooking has a unique taste and a great flavor thanks to this specific mixture of herbs. The herbs of Provence are made of a mixture of the following ingredients:

  • savory
  • rosemary
  • marjoram
  • oregano
  • basil
  • thyme
  • sage

  • One of the reasons for these specific choices is that many of these herbs, like rosemary and thyme, actually grow in Provence, so they are often used in the traditional cuisine. Many others can be easily grow into pots, on the kitchen window sill, so one can have instant access to all the necessary fresh herbs needed for cooking.

    Nowadays, due to their famous use in such a flavored cuisine like the Provençale cuisine is, Provencal herbs can be purchased by visitors when coming to France. They are dried and mixed together in small sacks and sold in gift shops or grocery stores all over Provence.

    Tags: herbs, provence herbs, spices, spice, herbs and spices, herb spice, french cuisine

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