Tuesday 22 April 2014

Almond Blossom in Provence

By the time this post appears on my blog the remarkable event it recounts will be over!

Once upon a time the areas of Provence that are now famous for their lavender fields, where then famous for their almonds.
Indeed the main crops on the Valensole plateau were almonds and wheat, and the wheat was usually used for animal feed. Growing almonds was a hard job however and climatic conditions and competition from abroad just to name those, soon put a stop to the almond trees and let the lavender take its place.

If you take a trip to the Valensole plateau nowadays you will find that most of the lone trees growing amongst the lavender and wheat fields are wild almond trees, witnesses to the past when they were the kings of the land!
Wild almonds in Haute Provence

But times have changed and the almond trees are back. The harvest nowadays is used for essential almond oil and also for human consumption as the almonds are quite delicious, and when incorporated with local lavender honey the resulting nougat is something you won't forget in a hurry!
The essential oil is used in skin creams and one of the biggest clients is L'Occitane en Provence whose custom ensures the survival of the local harvest.

Below are a series of photos that can be found on our Flickr page of this years almond blossom. What is quite amazing is the scent given off by the flowers which smells of honey straight from the jar!