- February 28, 2017
- Food and Wine
Almond trees are the first trees to blossom in Provence. Sometime in the month of February, depending on the weather, the honey-sweet white blossoms appear – the whole tree seems to blossom at once – and brings with it the warmth, hope and excitement of spring. While the last of the vine and cherry leaves stubbornly remain until late November, this means that the long and dreary dormancy period I’d always been accustomed to in Canada – when the trees are bare and the landscapes seem somewhat empty – is quite short in Provence. Two months, tops. In fact, the downy oak in Provence, despite being a deciduous tree, is never bare in Provence at all: it finishes shedding its brittle, brownish leaves only once the tender green ones have appeared.
I saw my first almond tree in blossom two weeks ago while scouting a route near Châteauneuf du Pape, and was immediately filled with a sense of joy. I began to count the days before guiding my first group of the spring season (38 to be exact); which then had me imagining myself laying down on a thyme-ladden hill, after a picnic lunch, under the shade of a tree, hat over my face, listening to the cicadas chant, and entering a peaceful sieste.