THE LITTLE STORY OF LAVENDER
Known since antiquity, lavender was used by the Egyptians to embalm their mummies and by the Romans to perfume their baths, hence its name from the Latin “lavare” meaning “to wash”.
It is then found in the medical treatises from the Middle Ages, where it is described as antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and repellent against insects.
Later, its virtues will also be at the origin of the famous anecdote of the chemist Gattefossé treating his burn with an essence of lavender in 1910 and thereby inaugurating the great saga of themodern scientific aromatherapy.
“QUERCY ROYAL LAVENDER”
Endemic to the pre-Alps of Provence, the true or officinal lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) flourishes on stony and dry calcareous soils, with a hot climate in summer and cold in winter. Quercy therefore had everything to please this blue gold. This is a wild variety called Delphinensis which was selected and introduced to our causses in the 20s and which produces a remarkable essential oil, particularly rich in esters, which give it its rare and exceptional fragrance. We then spoke of the "grand crus of lavender from Quercy", like the grand crus of the vineyards: the brand “Royal Lavender from Quercy” was even filed!
In the 50s, in Quercy (Lot and Tarn-et-Garonne) more than 200 producers, 12 distilleries and around fifty towns where lavender was grown. The production of essential oil then represents 10% of national production.
Today, lavender is reborn like a phoenix on the arid causses of Quercy (where you can still find old plots in the wild) thanks to the love of passionate lavender growers.
FROM FIELD TO FLASK
From mid-June to mid-July, depending on the weather, it's full blooming lavender. The landscapes of Quercy are then adorned with dazzling colors and the slightest walk takes us from discovery to wonder!
After the harvest, the strands are dried in the sun, pre-wilted exactly, between 24 and 48 hours, before being distilled in stills which will make it possible to extract the coveted essential oil, but also floral water. Our lavender growers, in love with this blue gold, share their passion with you during workshops discovered on their farm :
- The Lacontal farm, in Touffailles in the Tarn-et-Garonne, 20 minutes by car from Montcuq-en-Quercy-Blanc,
- Vanadal's Farm à Escamps, 20 minutes by car from Saint-Cirq-Lapopie
- The Alix farm in Rocamadour,
THOUSAND VIRTUES IN ALL ITS FORMS
It is said oflavender essential oil which is "good for everything". And that's true ! She has more than 300 active ingredients! Among other virtues, here are some of them: relaxing, soothing, sanitizing, insect repellent (excellent anti-lice), calming, sedative, antidepressant, healing, regenerating and disinfecting skin, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antivenous and repellent...
Lavender comes in various forms that will take care of your bodies, your homes and your taste buds (in strands, hydrolats, essential oils, candles, sweets, soaps, etc.) that you will find on direct sale in the shops of our producers organic and local of course, or on their site for online sales.
THE GOURMET CORNER
In the Lot, everything is an excuse to do and especially to taste good food. So advice to amateurs! Here are some fragrant ideas to enhance your recipe books from aperitif to dessert:
- Homemade lemonade with lavender syrup,
- Rocamadour toast with honey and lavender,
- Lamb from Quercy in a lavender crust,
- Egg cream flavored with lavender essential oil.
A QUERCYNOIS STAY WITH THE SCENT OF LAVENDER
Whether it is the common thread of your stay or whether its fragrance punctuates your holidays, here is a bit of an idea to discover this blue gold.
- Mas de Cantagrel à Saint-Cirq Lapopie, a bed and breakfast and organic farm lavender grower.
- A path in Quercy in Mauroux, unusual accommodation in a caravan where we take the time to contemplate the nature that surrounds us and where the hikes are done on 6 legs with the donkeys.
- Vanadal's Farm à Escamps, a charming cottage in the heart of Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park, on a farm where Welsh ponies live in semi-freedom, where lavender is harvested by hand and distilled in a traveling still.
- The scents of Quercy à Escamps, a extraordinary nursery with more than 60 varieties of lavender to discover and adopt, but also irises and sages.
- Comberne producer of natural products: honey, herbal teas, lamb, saffron and lavender that you can meet on Castelnau-Montratier market on Sunday.
- The Lacontal farm in Touffailles in the Tarn-et-Garonne, organic producer of officinal lavender where are organized visits and workshops to discover all its secrets.