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A Brief History of Herbs de Provence

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Imagine yourself in the French countryside. The rolling hills are bespeckled with sunflowers, quaint farmhouses, and waves of lavender. You can smell it in the warm air, it wafts across the terrain like a flock of starlings in the sky. There are other scents floating around as well: aromatic rosemary, unmistakable thyme, and delicate marjoram. Ok, welcome back to reality. You're not in France (unless you are, and if that's the case, then bonjour!), you're daydreaming about Spicewalla Herbs de Provence, a hand-blended mixture of dried herbs common in the Provençal region of France and throughout the Mediterranean. 

You've probably heard of Herbs de Provence before, and though it may seem like a recipe dating back to the golden days of Versailles, it wasn't until the 1970s and its use by the O.G. American-turned-French chef, Julia Child, that commercial versions of this fragrant blend became readily available in stores. Traditionally, the blend was similar to many Indian and Middle Eastern spice blends in the way that it was not uncommon to find distinct versions that vary from kitchen to kitchen and town to town. Even today, mixtures typically contain various combinations of herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, fennel, marjoram, savory, sage, parsley, tarragon, dill, and mint. Lavender, despite its prevalence in the region, was not originally added to blends of Herbs de Provence, but became incorporated as a way to satisfy tourists to the region, who saw the rolling fields of lavender as symbolic of Provence.    

Before you ask, yes, our version is pro-lavender, because, quite frankly, we like it. Perhaps those tourists were onto something. We also mix in a flavourful blend of aromatic dried herbs including: basil, parsley, lavender flowers, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme

This Mediterranean masterpiece of the spice world is perfect for springtime with its wonderful herbaceous and floral qualities. If you're thinking of breaking out the grill this weekend for the inaugural cookout, consider using Herbs de Provence as a rub on beef, chicken, lamb, or fish. Olive oil and heat heighten these fragrant flavours, and adding a pinch to hot coals will give your grilled meats and vegetables a subtle, yet noticeable smoky infusion. And don't forget the veggies! This blend is especially delicious with eggplant and zucchini, roasted potatoes, and in tomato sauce.

A super simple but delicious dish is as simple as this: any selection of vegetables cut into chunks, coated with olive oil, salt, and roasted in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Finish with a healthy sprinkling of our Herbs de Provence and a little more salt to taste, toss it up, and serve with love.

Or, better yet, check out our recipe for easy Oven-Roasted Frites with Herbs de Provence. Bon appétit! Taste & Believe!

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