How to use lavender in cooking

We are used to seeing lavender as in essential oil, in many beauty and body care products or used to fragrance the house and linen but did you know that you could consume it? Here are some tips for the proper use of lavender in cooking.


It is very trendy for some years now: edible flowers. Lavender is one of them. It is a seasonal flower and is a member of the mint herb family. It is known for its gourmet chefs virtues. Though the leaves and stems of lavender plants can be used for culinary purposes, the flowers particularly give dishes a subtly sweet, citrus flavor. Some precautions to bear in mind. Use the lavender sparingly, as the taste can be quite strong.

Lavender Bouquet


For starters, use a few sprigs of lavender with a salad and / or goat cheese.Goes well with dishes cooked with lamb, pork and even chicken. For desserts, lavender will accompany perfectly – in puddings, crème brûlée, and frosting a cupcake for example.


Lavender can be used to add flavor and color to culinary recipes in either fresh or dried form.To dry lavender for culinary use, snip the stems off the plant just after the flowers have opened and hang the stems upside down or lay them flat to dry. Wash the buds well, then dry-roast them to remove some of the floral taste or grind them in a coffee grinder to improve the texture. You can also make lavender-infused sugar for baking and swap it out for regular sugar in your favorite recipes.


Come to Provence and experience the beauty and flavors of this extraordinary flower. You can buy culinary lavender in many shops.

Book your lavender tours

Do you know that the lavender producers in Provence are confronting to a big threat ?

Listed a French patrimony, symbol of Provence, lavender is the principal force of agricultural ecosystem, economic and touristique for the region of the Provence Alps Cote d’Azur. It is today in great danger. As beautiful and fragrant as it seems, little do we know that the plants are facing a serious problem.


For twenty years, the cultivation of lavender in Provence faces two problems:

° Phytoplasma withering, a micro bacteria transmitted by a leafhopper

° Global warming and occasional droughts

Carried by a mini-cicada, leafhoppers, stolbur phytoplasma represents a serious health problem for the lavender growers. This micro-bacteria agglutinate in the vessels of the plant and eventually atrophy in two or three years. Farmers are forced to pull out a part of their production. The use of pesticides is not possible due to surrounding beekeeping activities. Rucher_lavande

Global warming led to frequent droughts that have particularly marked the year 2000. In 2003, 2006 and especially 2007, Provence has suffered from the weather, and despite a rainfall rising in recent years, the lavender fields will not last more than 10 years under current conditions.

In fact, France used to be the world’s largest producer of the lavender essential oil. However, since 2010-2011, Bulgaria had taken over the title.  On a worldwide level, there’s a substantive shortfall of lavender essential oil production by half in the last 10 years. In France, the production of 85 tons of lavender essential oil has dropped to 30 tons.

Researchers and scientists and farmers are working hand in hand to overcome this major problem.

Nevertheless, in Provence, there are still plenty of lavender fields of us to visit, see, smell …

An idea for a DIY christmas present from Provence …


When you visit Provence, you will notice these lovely and fragrant small lavender bouquets expertly weaved with colourful ribbons to make, what we call ‘Fuseaux de Lavande’. A local tradition that dates back since the 18th century, it’s used as a present to the fiancée or bride to scent and preserve her trousseau. Whether as a gift to your loved ones, to perfume your wardrobes, drawers, suitcases or hang as Christmas ornaments, the spindle is one of the souvenirs to bring back home.

If you do grow lavender plants back home, you may want to try and make them yourself. Herewith are some step to step instructions on how to create a ‘Fuseaux de Lavande’ :

In Provence, we make this spindle with sprigs of fresh lavender, Select 30 sprigs of lavender. Cut the stems of about 30cm. Get rid of leaves and lavender grains which do not belong to the main flower.

Lavender christmas gift

Take the ribbon and tie the flowers tightly, leaving a length of about one meter fifty and a shorter length of fifty centimeters

lavender arts & crafts

Then fold the flowers carefully without breaking the stalks. Place the bouquet head down and gently fold each of lavender, making sure not to break the stems… If lavender is too brittle, soak the stems first.

lavender made it yourself bouquet

Tying together the strands 2 by 2 with small pieces of sewing thread; obtained 15 stems groups.

DIY Provence Lavender

Braiding the ribbon once over the sprigs and next under the sprigs. Be sure to spread the stems. The challenge is to make the first turn, then braiding is simpler.

lavender DIY christmas gift

Tying together the two ribbon ends. Cut the tails of the stems.

Christmas idea gift - lavender spindle

Sedative, soothing, calming – lavender has many natural properties. Also used in perfumery, aromatherapy and medical treatments.

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Do you know what happens after the lavender flowers are harvested?

We are now in the last trimester of the year. The lavender flowers are all harvested, the distillation of the essential oil is all done but that doesn’t mean that the farmers are taking their holidays.

There’s much work to be done in the lavender fields. The weeding process must begin after the harvest around August as the grass has started to grow since the beginning of June. Then in October, lavender plants that are ten-year old must be pulled up, burnt and then the land must be prepared for March planting by ploughing to aerate the soil. Following in November, this is the time when the seeds are sown in nurseries just before the winter frost sets in. We will have to wait 3 years before we can use these plants for a new plantation. In the winter period from December to February, the ground is frozen, the land are resting and the lavender producers can take their holidays!

champ recolte

Don’t forget the medical virtues of this precious oil especially in the coming winter season, It can be used for colds and sinusitis as it’s know to fight infections. To put a drop on a sugar cube or in a spoonful of honey to relieve sore throats. To relieve stress and for relaxation, you may put a few drops in the bath.


You can plan your holidays now for next summer to admire the symbol of Provence, Lavender.

Lavender Festival in Sault 2015

This was the end of the blooming period of the lavender fields in Provence on August 15th. Now, if you want to come back next year to see the lavender fields in bloom in Provence, smell its fine perfume and admire its magnificent blue color, you will have to wait until June 05th 2016 !
Every year, the blooming season of the lavender fields ends with the famous Lavender Festival in Sault. This picturesque village of Provence, considered as the lavender capital, has been welcoming for 30 years a traditional festival to celebrate the flower, symbol of Provence. This festival attracts many tourists from all over the world and also many locals.

The entertainments of the festival are available all day long : lavender cutting championship of France with a sickle (event reserved for professionals) and the lavender cutting contest with a sickle (event reserved for amators). All day succeed farandoles happy with Provencal folk groups and all teams dressed in their fragrant strands.There is also the lavender farmers’ market, the products of the farm, a book fair, an exhibition of paintings, village crafts, a horse show and a closing concert. Children are not forgotten with the pony rides program and exhibition of a hive where they explain how the bees allow to create a so tasty lavender honey.

Every year, we drive you in our comfortable minibuses from Avignon, Arles and Aix en Provence, to discover this Lavender Festival on August 15th !

For those who will not be patient enough to wait until next June, the lavender museum is opened all year long (except in January). Our shared minibus tours from Avignon, Aix en Provence, Arles and Marseille can escort you to this charming museum where they share their knowledge with you and explain all the secrets of the lavender : production of essential oil, video about the culture of lavender and the collection of the flowers in August.

See you next year for our 2016 Lavender Tours !

Provence reservation minibuses


For a long time the flowers of lavender came from the region of Mévouillon, near Mont Ventoux (the tallest mountain in Provence 1912 metres), and were recognizable by their deep blue colour and their lasting qualities. Quality flowers, reaped when they are in the early stages of blossoming and dried very quickly, bring sweet smells to the homes of many. We can buy these flowers fresh or dried in bouquets or in provencal cloth sachets often at the farmers’ market in the summer or shops all year round.


Lavender is a pretty amazing thing to have in your culinary reserve but it can easily veer toward potpourri-town if you’re not careful. No matter what you plan to do with it, make sure to buy “culinary lavender.” Like coconut oil, lavender is produced for uses other than cooking. Culinary lavender is suitable for consumption while ornamental lavender isn’t (necessarily). And while it probably won’t kill you, just buy the stuff that you’re sure is safe to eat. It’s no fun biting into a piece of cake and coming away with a mouthful of leaves. We like to use lavender as an infusion, so either grind it (say, with sugar for baked goods) or strain it out of a liquid (cream or syrup) before using. You’ll still get great lavender flavor without the bits and pieces in your mouth.

A little goes a long way. If you’re not following a recipe you trust, use lavender sparingly. Its flavor is strong and can easily overwhelm baked goods or savory dishes if you’re heavy-handed. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.
Lavender has a strong flavor, so pair it accordingly with other assertive flavors. In baking, be sure to use a light touch or balance its low notes with something bright like lemon juice and zest.
A few more ideas if this got the creative juices flowing: Infuse simple syrup with a sprinkling of lavender and use to sweeten iced tea, lemonade, or even to flavor meringue. Grind some lavender into sugar and use it in simple butter cookies or infuse cream for lavender-scented whipped or ice cream.


macarons lavende

Lavender is a member of the mint family and is close to rosemary, sage, and thyme. It is best used with fennel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and savory. Make your own dry blend of herbs and flowers (we like lavender with mint and rosemary) and rub on lamb chops or chicken wings before grilling. You can even candy the blossoms and use those to garnish.
Though this year, we are in advance of the harvest because of the extremely warm weather, it’s still not too late too see the lavender fields.

Summer in Provence !

Provence in summer is the place to be !

We are lucky to have a wonderful weather with hot temperatures since few weeks. It’s the best moment to enjoy the provencal atmosphere under the cicadas song.
You must discover the landscapes of lavender fields, explore the authentic and typical villages of Provence for the last weeks of flowering lavender.
You will have the opportunity to smell the lavender and other incredible scent along the road. Leaving you time to take beautiful pictures to keep great memories. For lovers of photography is perfect to capture the landscapes of our Provencal countryside.



The lavender is not only beautiful to see, it’s also good to taste ! The lavender honey or a lavender ice cream will surprise your taste buds.


Many of our tours include a visit to the lavender museum to learn more about the lavender and lavandin in Provence. It’s incredible to discover that lavender has many properties including health properties for migraine, cramps, indigestion. Also known for aromatherapy, its used for medicinal vertues for centuries.
For a morning tour, afternoon tour or full day tour, do not hesitate, you will appreciate the treasures of Provence.
And, if you are lucky you will also be able to see sunflower fields in bloom around end of July!


You can book your tour from Avignon, Aix en Provence, Marseille or Arles depending of your holiday destination, directly on the website of Provence Reservation.

Blue Gold Lavender of Provence!

This is the wonder of the South in a blue coat, she scents, calms, stimulates, tones and regulates this for millennia.
Lavender is discovered at your own pace, these landscapes in colors and incomparable scents.
Roads of the Lavender  are open from the Alps to Provence and you are training, the seasons, the discovery of an iconic treasure of Haute Provence,from Vercors to the Luberon, the Drôme to the Verdon, Hautes-Alpes to Baronnies.
They tell you a story, a memory, a skill … If you want to premonitory dreams, massage your forehead and temples with fresh lavender flowers crushed before you sleep.
So come and enjoy the last weeks of flowering lavender before cutting to the Sickle as in old times at the Sault that result each year to a huge party on August 15th with a fairyland of colors, smells and flavors or all day farandoles succeed happy with Provencal folk groups and all teams dressed in their fragrant strands.

6046419819-Falta-el-aroma-p                       copper still

There is also the lavender farmers’ market, the products of the farm, a book fair, an exhibition of paintings, village crafts, a horse show and a closing concert in Provence.
Many of our tours include a visit to Sault as well as leaving you time to catch your favorite shots in the Lavender fields.


The lavender flowers are blooming !!!

Sunshine, sunshine…is shining in Provence for the last couple of weeks. We are blessed with such a weather with the temperature climbing higher and higher and the lavender flowers are starting to bloom rapidly. In the days to come, it will be shining like an amethyst and we will see an ocean of violet blossom. We can smell the scent of the lavender as we approach the fields.

When the flowering begins, the farmer stops the weeding as it could damage the development of the young flowers. It’s also the time to get the distillery ready around mid June. Do you know how to distil? In plant distillation, steam goes through the flowers to extract the essentiel oil. The word ‘still’ refers to the vessel containing the flower. Each producer owned a still which he adapted to his needs. More often than not this apparatus was made of copper, a fairly light, easy to work metal and a good heat conductor.

There are three distillation techniques. The naked flame still, the bain-marie still and the steam still. The lavender museum exhibits a good selection of stills used in the olden days and you will learn the ways of harvest and the distillation for the lavender essentiel oil. Of course, if you wish to bring back a small bottle of pure lavender essentiel oil, you are most welcome to buy it at the museum.

Many of our tours include a visit to the Lavender Museum as well as leaving you time to catch your favorite shots in the lavender fields,

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What is « Terroir » ?

Coming to France, you will be encountering the word ‘terroir’ very often. It’s a french term that literally means ‘earth’ or ‘soil’ but on a general term, ‘terroir’ combines special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the agricultural product such as wine, olive oil, cheese, sunflower, lavender makes the product unique to that area.

Lavender honey, a perfumed and very effective tonic, is very popular and is given pride of place in Provençal market stalls. With its delicate floral scent and enticing flavor reminiscent of lavender flowers, many honey lovers consider lavender honey from Provence, Southern France, to be the best honey in the world.


It’s hardly surprising that lavender growing and bee keeping should be closely associated, since one sees so many beehives in or near lavender fields. Bee keepers are often itinerant and will move their apiaries from one site to another depending on the season and the quality of the flowers growing in each field. Each hive can yield about 35kg of honey each.

lavande ruche

Come to try some, either on your morning toast of bread or scones, sweeten your tea or coffee. Drink a glass of warm water mix with lavender honey for soothing effect in the evening. Used in pastry baking and there are many other health-benefits.

We are now in mid-May, the stalks of lavender flowers are coming out nicely. A few more weeks and we will see the first bloom of the year. We invite you to join our lavender tours and come to taste the delicious lavender honey too ….