The fruits and vegetables of Provence soak up plenty of sun!il!
With an average of 300 days of sun a year, the land in the Vaucluse region benefits from long hours of sunshine, ideal for farming! The land alternates between mountains and hills with varying amounts of limestone and alluvial plains criss-crossed by water courses that have provided plentiful irrigation. All this has enabled varied crops to develop (lavender on the plateaus, strawberries or fruit trees in the plains, vineyards, etc.).
Welcome to the kingdom of flavour!
The black truffle
The Vaucluse department produces no less than 70% of the national truffle production.
In season, the prices are fixed by the Carpentras market, one of the biggest in the region, with the truffle market of Richerenches. We are talking between €400 and 1000 per kilo, depending on the year and the season!
The truffles are collected between November and January, with the help of a dog that uses its powerful sense of smell to detect and dig up this luxury mushroom!
Emblematic of Mediterranean landscapes, the olive tree was brought to Provence by the Greeks over 3000 years ago, so it is safe to say that olive oil has been produced in Provence since Antiquity. Olive orchards are characteristic of the Luberon and Haut Vaucluse regions.
Olive harvests, known as "olivades", take place in November and December, after the first frosts. The olives are then brought to the mill, where they are pressed to extract their precious olive oil.
Worth a visit: the La Balméenne olive mill, in Beaumes de Venise: www.labalmeenne.fr
The Cavaillon melon
Melon is the quintessential summer fruit!
Found on market stalls everywhere, on every table during summer.
The best kind? The Cavaillon melon in Beaumes-de-Venise is a gastronomic marriage of two star products from the Comtat Venaissin :)
The Monts de Venasque cherry
The Vaucluse is home to the highest cherry production in France.
The orchards are in flower in April and the first cherries arrive in May, then are found on market stalls until mid-July.
The Carpentras strawberry
Cléry, Ciflorette or Garriguette...
The Carpentras strawberry is well known for its flavoursome qualities, due to sunny conditions and exceptional ripening.
A Strawberry Festival is held in Carpentras in May.
The Muscat du Ventoux grape
A dessert grape with a classic and very sweet flavour, among the first to ripen from the end of August!
Near Méthamis, it is also the last muscat around at the end of the season, due to the altitude.
Four producers based at the foot of Ventoux share the Vaucluse production of saffron, the most expensive spice in the world:
- L’Aube Safran in Barroux,
- Safran Soleil in Pernes les Fontaines,
- Le Mas de Gouredon in Caromb,
- L’Or Rouge des 3 Rivières in Entrechaux.
The plants blossom in October. The crop is harvested by hand, an intense and meticulous job, bearing in mind that 100 flowers need to be cut to obtain 1 gram of saffron!