50 gr 1.76 OUNCES - Provence, France
Domain Le Grand Servan
If you search on Herbes de Provence, you will find many opinions as to what herbs should be included in this classic mix. But one herb often appears that should not be in it.
The region of Provence, France has been know for its heather and herbs since the Romans cut down the forests there some 2000 years ago. Of all the aromatic herbs grown there, lavender was cherished most for its aromatic properties by parfumiers and apothecaries.
On the culinary side, though, it is fargoule (the Provencal word for Thymus Vulgaris, or as we know it, thyme,) that is considered the most important herb in this classic mix. Thyme's ability to enhance so many foods -- like chicken, ham, figs -- is well known. Thyme can also help in digestion, and is believed to enhance the romance in your life.
It is no wonder, then, that thyme is always included in the classic Herbes de Provence mixture, along with rosemary and marjoram. Summer savory is also considered to be a key ingredient and very specific to Provence. Other herbs that are often included in a local Herbs de Provence mix could be sage or bay, and, in the case of Domain Le Grand Servan, basil.
It is unclear when the addition of lavender to Herbes de Provence happened, but it appears it was added primarily for the tourists who came from the city and, later, from around the world. Lavender was added for the tourists who flock to the region to see the hectares and hectares of purple lavender fields that were so quintessentially Provence. Big spice houses then perpetuated this idea as they recreated this ever popular mixture of herbs to be sold worldwide.
You can ask chefs and French aficionados, and you will get a wide range of differing opinions. But, one thing is clear, those in France think lavender is for the bathroom -- not the kitchen.
True to form, in the modern tradition of gathering herbs from the countryside for the evenings meal, Domain Le Grand Servan gathers their herbs from their neighbor's to create this classic Provence herb mixture.
Stored in a matching bottle to their family estate oil, the herbs shake out nicely so that your finger oils and food don't soil the dried natural herbs.