Fleurs

Fleurs

All around Grasse in the south of France, the world is full of flowers.

Maybe most of those old fields of flowers have been sold, turned into “concrete fields” as one rose grower said, or villas.

But the people who live there have kept flowers as their identity, what makes them unique and beautiful. They are the place where flowers and perfume once reigned supreme, and that’s a beautiful identity for any place, so they want to keep it.

grasse_perfumer.jpg
(A statue in Grasse of a 17th-century perfumer. Imagine buying perfumes from someone in the streets like this! If only we could somehow blend the beauty of their world with one where we have electricity and vaccinations.)

So flowers show up…in violet flavored ice cream.

violet_icecream.jpg

(The same place had lavender, rose, and orange blossom with pine nuts. More on this glacier later.)

In trous normands at fine restaurants, where the sorbets are flavored with lavender or thyme or rosemary. (Two of which aren’t flowers, but when you’re eating them, close enough.)

mougins_lamandier.jpg

(What a delightful experience this restaurant was in every way, the food, the view, the waiter, the chef, the hostess…)

In guimauve, which is old-fashioned, handmade marshmallow. Cut, as Auer sells them:

auer_guimauve.jpg

Or left in strips, as they are in the big jar in this photo.

grasse_shop.jpg

The flavors were orangeblossom, violet, anise, and rose.

In the same photo, we find flowers in syrups and liqueurs and jellies. (In French, jelly or jam is a confiture de fruits, but a confit de rose or jasmin or any flower.)

In fountains.

grasse_rosefountain.jpg

This one flows with eau de rose.

And that is not all, but I must take a break now and go lay me down in a bed of roses…

rosesgrasse.jpg
(Yes, yes, you’ve seen this photo before, but I just love remembering so many sweet-smelling roses.)

 

 

23 Comments
  • Grasse, huh? I think I just found my next vacation spot. And I will print out this entry to take with me. That fountain is beautimous.

    (See? I read even when it’s not about chocolate at all! Though those marshmallows are very intriguing…)

    June 27, 2007 at 7:42 am
  • OH OH OH
    I LUV today’s post!!!
    I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Grasse but it’s a bit off the beaten path..
    I have ALWAYS wanted to taste those weird marshy-mallow things…
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE that picture inside the whatsit!!!
    WONDERFUL – ALL OF IT

    June 27, 2007 at 8:03 am
  • I’m thinking of french s’mores…made with those long marshmallows…are you seeing it too?
    Flowers here are hmmm…almost unobtainable…rare…only for special occasions…hardly ever for everyday tabletops…unless a child thinks to drag them in half wilted…I bought a bouquet yesterday! Daisies and lilies and they do smell sweet!

    June 27, 2007 at 8:09 am
  • PS
    What’s the name, address and tel# of that place???
    Aidez-moi…

    June 27, 2007 at 8:10 am
  • PSS
    What IS that dessert?
    Dacquoise aux Noix,

    Tube de Pommes Caramélisés,

    Fine Crème Brûlée au Thé Earl Grey,

    Glace Vanille, Sauce Acidulée

    ou

    Biscuit Tiède au Chocolat Cœur Coulant,

    Semi Confit de Citron,

    Sorbet Cacao

    ou

    Parfait Glacé aux Marrons en Coque de Chocolat,

    Figue Moelleuse Marinée au Maury,

    Macaron Légèrement Cacaoté

    ou

    Minute de Fruits Frais,

    Sirop Léger au Basilic,

    Sorbet Exotique Posé sur une Madeleine
    ? ? ?
    Which one…
    And what’s on that funny spoon..

    June 27, 2007 at 8:43 am
  • Paris “Desserts”, I do wish you hadn’t made me read through all the desserts on that menu again. You are killing me. I just looked up plane fares just on the off-chance it would be worthwhile to fly back there and eat again.

    It’s earlier on the menu, though, the trou normand that comes between the first and second course. Sorbet au thym et tabouleh � la menthe et au quinoa, I think something like that was its name. Why these little sorbets were so common in the south is another question–the heat? The excuse to flavor something with flowers?

    Phyllis, have I ever told the story about trying to teach the French about s’mores? I can’t remember if it’s in Blame It on Paris. I like your idea, but I think we would have to use one of the biscuits au beurre instead of the graham cracker. And of course fine French chocolate ganache over the guimauve, right?

    Alala, your husband’s going to tell you to quit reading my blog! First a trip to Paris, now Grasse… 🙂

    June 27, 2007 at 8:53 am
  • Oh, so that really WAS rose-flavored syrup you brought home with you! I really thought it must be bath oils or something, but no. Rose syrup. Who’s have thunk it? Gotta love the French!

    June 27, 2007 at 9:45 am
  • Yes, sorry, Michelle. I hope I didn’t make you more nauseated with all these flower flavors! The pebbles in that older photo aren’t pebbles either, but more on that later. 🙂

    June 27, 2007 at 11:33 am
  • ahhh, lovely flowers to soothe the chocolate-mourning soul (I went to Wisconsin for the weekend and missed the unfolding chocolate tragedy, alas! There I was, driving through the cheese state in air conditioned comfort, blithely eating little squares of Pralus, unaware of this shocking sadness). One more chocolate note: I LOVE the chocolate dictionary. I think we could make a fabulous new multi-sensory dictionary! The sorbets are gorgeous–anyone have a good recipe for herb sorbet? I have some lovely lemon thyme here…

    June 27, 2007 at 12:03 pm
  • I have never made herb sorbets, but all the recipes I’ve seen are just simple syrups infused with the herb and frozen in an ice-cream maker. Or with thyme, lemon juice & zest is a common addition.

    The BEST sorbet is honeysuckle sorbet, if any of you have good honeysuckle blooming:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4712589

    It is SO good.

    June 27, 2007 at 12:39 pm
  • amy

    I love marshmallows. But when I was a vegetarian I wouldn’t eat them, because of the gelatin. Once baby Vaughan kicked me off the vegetarian wagon with all his food sensitivities (no protein for mama! hahahahahaha! evil little guy) I did indeed savor marshmallows again. Whole Foods has handmade ones. I haven’t bought a whole package, just tried the samples, but I’m thinking I need some s’mores. They have a display with handmade marshmallows, Icelandic chocolate (I think–definitely somewhere northern and cold–is Iceland known for chocolate???), and graham crackers. That’s it, tomorrow I’m breaking down and buying what is perhaps the most expensive s’mores ever except if you fly to Grasse to get THOSE marshmallows.

    (Shoot, I brought up chocolate again, didn’t I? Completely unplanned…)

    June 27, 2007 at 5:10 pm
  • Icelandic chocolate? You will have to give us a review.

    Yes, I noticed how quickly these marshmallows led to thoughts of chocolate. That’s okay, that makes it easier to keep blaming all my chocolate posts on other people. 🙂

    My sister-in-law and her daughters have made marshmallows in the past–the little snowflake ones Martha Stewart had on a cover once. Maybe I should try it sometime–it would be a fun winter recipe.

    June 27, 2007 at 7:47 pm
  • Ann

    Those handmade marshmallows are calling my name very very loudly!

    I think I could take a vacation to that store 😀

    June 27, 2007 at 10:19 pm
  • melinda

    I am really fancying that voilet sorbet! I love perfume too. Is the famous fragonard perfume musee near you????
    I am green with envey! LOL

    June 27, 2007 at 11:54 pm
  • Melinda, the fountain that flows with rose water is right in front of one of the Fragonard museums. (There are 2 or 3.) It is a fascinating museum, but they wouldn’t let me take pictures, which was frustrating. But this was a visit to Grasse; alas, I don’t live there!

    June 28, 2007 at 6:44 am
  • Pinky shrump~
    You kept me up all night.
    After I nap awhile, I’d love to touch, I mean see a picture of Sebastien 😮
    Life is so unfair. Hey- I grew up in the boondocks and I have three brothers too! Maybe some chocolat will ease my pain. Looks like it is going to be one more long night.

    June 28, 2007 at 11:28 am
  • amy

    It IS Icelandic. I had no idea Iceland did chocolate. I can’t tell if they grow the cocoa in Iceland? Here’s the website: http://www.noi.is
    I don’t speak–um, Icelandic? What’s the language? I feel so provincial. Anyway, if you click on the UK flag, the chocolate bar I have looks like the ones at the top of that page. I’m going to have to post about these s’mores, I think. The Most Expensive S’mores Ever, but the price seemed justified considering the Difficult Morning with the Children. I’m not sharing, either. (Except with my husband.)

    June 28, 2007 at 1:02 pm
  • Humph
    You’ll have to stop waving the “glacier” card at us
    All this temptation is too too much..
    Not playing fair..
    C’est pas juste!

    June 28, 2007 at 2:22 pm
  • What a delicious post!!!! Miam miam… I’m particularly taken by all that guimauve. I’ve never seen such beautiful ones! And tasting of orange blossom, violet and rose? I just love those flavours (and scents!). So heavenly…. And isn’t that statue wonderful? It takes you right back there. I’m sure I would have spent a little fortune buying pure perfume and other heavenly concoctions from this ancient perfumer 🙂 I was in Grasse once, but only in passing. It was a Sunday and all was closed… I’ve been wanting to go back ever since. Merci pour ce billet et cette invitation aux pays des délices et merveilles.

    June 29, 2007 at 3:31 am
  • Those marshmallows look heavenly! And the fountain, is it really filled with rose water!? Looking at the photos I keep hearing the music from the commercials for Walgreens where everyone lives in the town of Perfect. Ahhhhhh. It’s like something out of a fairytale.
    As for Rosemary and Thyme, they do indeed have flowers, and technically lavender is as much an herb as the other two.

    July 8, 2007 at 1:22 pm
  • Julie kinner

    I had violet ice cream from a cart in Luxembourg Gardens 10 years ago, and have been wanting to find it again ever since! I’m going back to Paris at the end of this month and am hoping to find it again. From your post, it looks like they have it at Angel’Ice – am I reading that right? Any other suggestions as to where to find violet ice cream in Paris? Thanks!!!

    March 28, 2010 at 11:20 am
  • Bonjour, Julie! Thanks for stopping by. Angel’Ice is in Grasse, in the far south of France, so I’m afraid that won’t help on your next to Paris. I can’t remember ever running across violet ice cream in Paris, but that doesn’t mean someone won’t have it somewhere. My favorite ice cream in Paris is Gelati d’Alberto on Rue Mouffetard, but he has never had violet that I’ve seen.

    March 28, 2010 at 1:52 pm