French Friday: La Lavande

le 7 septembre 2018 (250/365) « La lavande est l'âme de la Haute-Provence. » - Jean Giono

Lavender Fields

August 8, 2016 (221/366)

"The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs, with fields of lavender blushing in tufts all over the meadows" - William C. Bryant


August 12, 2014 Photo (224/365): "Lavender"

I love lavender -- its color, its perfume, its flavor. It makes me dream of Provence: of endless rows of purple blossoms, of hand-milled soaps and fragrant sachets in lingerie drawers and under pillows, of delicious floral-scented ice cream dripping from crisp cones...Our homegrown lavender literally pales in comparison.

French Friday: Au marché

There's no question that locally grown fruits and veggies are more beautiful and more delicious. I love our Wisconsin farmers' markets at this time of year -- the colors, the aromas, the flavors; yet I always compare them to the wonderful outdoor markets in France where flowers, produce, and hand-lettered signs are all arranged so artistically. Enjoy a virtual stroll through the markets of Aix-en-Provence, Nice, and Paris.

Maybe if you're lucky, you find the last mango in Paris! {All photos taken at markets in Paris, Nice, and Aix-en-Provence}

Essence de Provence

April 27, 2013 Photo of the day:  "Essence de Provence"

I love lavender: the flowers, the color, the taste, and especially the fragrance. It is such a lovely, familiar scent that reminds me of the South of France, of beautiful landscapes, warm sun, and dear friends. Today, my friend, Lisa, gave me this amazingly generous gift, a "Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, Congratulations on your new job, and Thank You for helping me with my Poms video" gift! I love how l'Occitane packages its hand lotions in paint tube just like the ones Cézanne or Picasso would have used to capture the light and beauty of Provence.  Lisa and I have been friends since we both started teaching in Pewaukee almost twenty years ago. We have shared so much as world language teachers and travelers, as roommates and friends. She knows me so well! Merci mille fois, mon amie!


April 10, 2013 Photo of the day:
"Petits souvenirs"

What things do you save when you travel? I like to keep tiny beautiful reminders of the places I've been. Cleaning out my purse after our Spring Break trip to France, I discovered a few lovely treasures: tickets from the Métro, boat tours, and museums, a commemorative coin of the 850th anniversary of Notre Dame, leftover currency, brochures from Fragonard and Ladurée, a receipt from Chanel, a small bottle of Juste un baiser, a fun new iPhone case from Pylones, and a leather Eiffel Tower key chain. I also brought home sea glass and heart-shaped stones from the beach in Nice, herbes de Provence, and lovely sachets filled with lavender to infuse my home with home with the fragrance and flavors of La Belle France.

Pure Lavande

January 6, 2013 Photo of the day:
"Pure Lavande"

Mmmm, I wish you could smell it!
Knowing how much I love the fragrance of lavender,
my French friends generously send soap and sachets
to infuse my home with the perfume of Provence.

The first time I saw Provençal lavender fields, I was enchanted!
Imagine rows & rows of fragrant, vibrant blossoms!

Every summer, I optimistically plant lavender in my garden,
although the weather in Provence and Wisconsin couldn't be more different.

Some seasons are more successful than others.

Whenever I'm in the South of France,
my favorite treat is lavender ice cream.

Bon appétit!

2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup dried lavender
1/3 cup honey
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, lavender, and honey. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain mixture, reserving milk and discarding lavender.

Combine egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, return milk to a medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Add half the milk to egg-yolk mixture, and whisk until blended. Stir mixture into remaining milk, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove from heat, and immediately stir in cream. Strain mixture into a medium mixing bowl set in an ice-water bath, and let stand until chilled, stirring from time to time. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Store in an airtight plastic container up to 2 weeks.