Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fête de la Lavande

To continue with my "what I did this weekend in Provence" post from yesterday, I promised the Lavender Festival in Valensole. I know I've already inundated you with photos of lavender, but I happen to like the stuff. This is a recent taste reversal, however. 

My mother had a bottle of Yardley Lavender cologne or talcum powder...or something, which she never used but whose scent seemed to permeate her drawer full of stuff I was not supposed to dig through. Which, of course, made it the drawer that I spent many stolen hours ransacking...I think hoping to find something really naughty. Which I don't remember finding. I also remember being supremely disappointed. I wanted my mother to have a history! My boys, I'm quite sure, would not be so disappointed and I hope I get all those long ago written journals that are hidden somewhere, properly torn up and burned before they start going through my stuff. Which they probably already have, if I'm going to be realistic about it.

Okay...off track...so.....

Anyway, I always detested the smell of that perfume but since coming to Provence, I've discovered how wonderful it is to sleep with a lavender filled pillow under my head. It's relaxant qualities are truly comforting. And how delicious the apartment smells when I've sprayed the distilled oil on my little clay cigalle that hangs in the bathroom. Lavender's  bug repellant qualities keep moths away in the closet or trunk and beat moth balls all to hell.  I knew all of this stuff. What I didn't know is what else one can do with lavender.

There is Lavender mustard and chutney...

Salts and spices...


Cookies and breads..

Sausage...yes, Lavender Saucisson!

And pâté...oh man, I just don't know about that!

There are syrups, ice creams, and jams but their mugs didn't make it here because my camera battery died.

But not before that I got to see the traditional dancers weave their ribbons

and the tired dancers rest their feet.

We were treated to mounds of freshly cut lavender to make our own bouquets...

and the townspeople decorated for the occasion.

So...my summer weekend in Provence rocked!

But I'm never going to change my mind about Yardley Lavender perfume.



  1. Wow! Who would have known that so many things were made from Lavender. Native Indians make dream pillows out of it, which helps to relax into a sound sleep . . .

    I had completely forgotten about lavender. I think I'll plant some in my yard for next year!

  2. You know, of ALL our meals during the trip, our lunch in Valensole with you and Vreni was Steve's favorite! Too bad we didn't have lavender tart! I miss the market, hope the heat has died down a bit. Hugs!

  3. Have you made the lavender bundles..where you plait the flower heads over the stalks?
    Lavender ice cream is not to be missed...I have s recipe for lavender and honey ice cream which even I can make without disaster.

  4. That looks amazing! I have a little patch of lavender that makes me so happy. It didn't fare well at our old house, but I dug it up and brought it with me and it's lovely now. Location, location.

    I'm going to have to cut some and make a sachet for my pillow.

  5. I didn't realise they can make so many things from lavender!

    The lavender bundles mentionned by Fly are worth making, some locals taught me how to make them a few years ago but I haven't tried since. They are very nice though.

    I had lavender confetti at our Provencal wedding. It was bizarre but smelt lovely!

    How's the wrist today? (I just realised the other post was from Monday! I'm a bit behind...)

  6. Dear Delana,

    The most valuable use for lavender that I know about is using 'essential lavender oil' (it must not be mixed with anything else) for burns. Put the lavender oil on a burn immediately (do not use water) and it will stop the pain and the possiblity of blistering.

    Since I love to cook and occasionally will touch a hot pan I always have the lavender oil to put on immediately.

    The bread does sound delightful! I could use a slice right now.

  7. I just bought dish soap with lavender at Target this weekend. : ) I love to eat lavender candies. And I would love some lavender cologne.

  8. I'm enjoying all the lavender goodies we bought in Provence in April. Some day I'm going to be there to see it in bloom and being harvested.

  9. I've just discovered your blog today (I must be a slow learner!), and what a way to start it off for me. Lavender, what could be better?

  10. Wouldn't you know that lavender gives me headaches. That made me so sad when I realized that to be true.

    My massage therapist was treating me to aroma therapy with some yummy smells and also put lavender in a pack used to put over my eyes.

    My eyes started to burn and water. I had never been so clearly exposed to lavender. It now made sense why I got headaches from it. That cemented my thoughts about lavender and me.

    I would be in a real pickle at a lavender festival. It makes me itch just thinking about it LOL

    Your writing is very enjoyable though so all is not lost.

    Hope you'll come and visit my blog.

    I have a few but the http://getrealfit.blogspot.com/ is my primary one.

    You must need to stay fit to keep going on your adventure. I'm sure some of my tips will keep you mobile LOL

  11. better late than never. trying to rest arm.
    Moxie: It works like a charm. I prefer lavender to lavendin but I think lavendin will grow better where you are.

    Eileen: still hot! I can't begin to tell you how much fun it was to have you guys here. And that was a special day up in Valensole.

    Fly: I have made them. Long ago and in another galaxy. I saw many of them at the market and when my arm heels, I'd like to give it another go. I need your ice cream recipe.

    Lisa, I love my pillow and just bought new fabric to make new ones. I could fill my bed with them!

    I love the idea of Lavender at a wedding. Perfect and no birds die! Trying to take this injury seriously. Problem is I clean houses for cash and I don't...can't lose the jobs. So I'll just have to protect it on the off days. And buy a new chair!

    JoAnna: I had heard that but never a personal testimonial. I'm a clutz in the kitchen and by the barbeque. I'll get some tomorrow at market. thanks

    Cynthia: At first I thought you said "I like to eat Lavender candles". I was about to suggest a doctor!

    Sherrie: Plan a new trip next mid-July and restock!

    Mark: Believe me...there is an entire world out there full of slow learners. I'm so happy that you are joining me and now I've got a new blog to read too. Welcome.

    Lynn: Welcome to my blog. How did you find me? You might be having a problem with just Lavender or Lavendin. Lavendin has a lot of camphor in it but and can bother people. Often it's used instead of lavender because it's more aromatic and cheaper. Check out the difference between the two. You might be pleasantly surprised. And now it's off to your blog.

  12. Hi Delana,

    One quick note. When you buy the lavender oil make sure it does not contain other oils or anything else.


  13. Lavender and honey ice cream recipe.

    My measures are U.K. measures....I've had this recipe a long, long time!

    1 pint of double cream
    quarter pint of honey
    6 egg yolks
    I small bunch of fresh lavender.

    Shake the bunch to remove dust, then steep in the cream - I use the bunch to stir it, so only the flowers are in the cream - as you bring it to scalding point.
    In the meantime, beat the egg yolks and warm the honey very gently.

    Remove the bunch of lavender

    Strain the cream over the beaten yolks, and return to a gentle heat in a fresh pan...preferably a heavy enamel one like le creuset...stirring until the cream just starts to 'hold' on the back of the spoon.
    Remove from heat, place pan in cold water to stop the cooking process and whisk in the honey.

    If you have an ice cream maker, use it.
    If not, bowl in freezer and get it out to whisk it every half hour to avoid getting big ice crystals.

    Good luck with it.

    I have a feeling I had this recipe from a celebrity chef compilation, but I cannot remember which one, so cannot give credit where it is due.

  14. I'm a recent follower of yours, so first i want to say Hello and I enjoy your blog :) Then I wanted to say I attended a lavender festival in Sequim, Washington and my eyes were also opened to all the lavender goodies available, but my favorite are the lavender "teabags" that I put in my dryer with my bedsheets! they make me feel very upscale :)

  15. Lavender incense: I've never heard of it!!!! Must find some here....

  16. You are living the life I only dreamed of. These photos are magnificent! I just bought two HUGE bags of lavender salts for my bath. Aaaaaah, it takes me back to the fields of Provence. Thanks for this!

  17. What a fab blog! I ws looking through my friend French Fancy's contacts for something interesting to read and was immeadiately drawn to yours. The first reason is that is is about France and secondly I love lavender. Did I just say that? straight bloke loves lavender. Phil

  18. I've been offline for 2 weeks so I apologize for being so tardy! I swear I answered most of these but it's not showing up.

    Joanna: I went to the source and bought the real thing. Thank you.

    Fly: Thanks so much for the recipe. I don't have an ice cream maker so I'm so glad you gave me an option. Bought some cooking quality lavender so I'm ready to go!

    sjd: thank you so much for reading. I haven't had much to follow lately due to a bad wing but I'm so glad you're here.The teabags sound awesome but I don't have a dryer. They do sell a rinse that I need to get though.

    LibbY: I'll try to find you some and bring it to you in Paris.

    MAWB: It's so good to hear from you. I miss your blog.

    Phil: A straight guy that loves lavender. Wanna get married? Welcome to my blog. I love new people and am so glad you're here.

  19. See you at the eglise. The bride looked lovely in lavender and wasn't wearing Yardley. :0)

  20. Hello Delana...haven't commented before. Funny that I read this post now, as my ten year old's favorite ice cream is...lavender, which is what she always gets when we are in Uzes, where we were yesterday.

    I have been known to use lavender slipped under the skin of a chicken before I roast it, in a creme caramel, in my berry jam, in lemonade...and under my pillow, like you! Still, all things considered, perhaps the best way to enjoy it is in the garden, with all the different insects zooming peacefully and industriously around it. Maybe with that glass of lavender lemonade in hand. Yeah, that's it.


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