Local Food ProducersTasteVirginie Van Der Wees

Discovering Provence’s Almond Trees and Wonderful Recipes

The following text, in English and French, is a short introduction to discovering Provence’s almond trees and a few recipes. In the Provencal countryside, it is common to see almond trees growing in the wild. Several regional producers cultivate almonds for local consumption and use in local confectioneries like the famous Calisson d’Aix. Before we dive into discovering almonds, it’s important to note why I refer to almonds as fruit in the text below. While you might think of almonds as a nut, according to the US Forest Service, “They are defined as dry, single-seeded fruits that have high oil content.”

Calissons d'Aix a Sweet Candy
This recipe takes time. It's a fun culinary project with a sweet result. You need to leave enough time (about a week) for the fruit paste to reach the right consistency.
Check out this recipe
Calissons d'Aix Recipe

Additional Read: Where to find the best gourmet treats in Aix-en-Provence.

Almond trees (Les amandiers)

Do you love Provençal vegetation? I certainly do.

Almond trees are known for their delicate flowers and their fruit: almonds. Almond trees are primarily cultivated for their almonds. Almonds can be consumed raw, roasted, or used in various food products such as pastries, sweets like calissons (of course), and almond oil. In Provence, these trees are also appreciated for their spectacular blossoms in spring, making our Provence even more beautiful.

Aimez-vous la végétation provençale ? Moi, j’adore.

Les amandiers sont des arbres connus pour leurs fleurs délicates et leurs fruits : les amandes. Ils sont principalement cultivés pour leurs amandes. Les amandes peuvent être consommées crues, grillées, ou utilisées dans divers produits alimentaires tels que les pâtisseries, les confiseries comme le calisson (bien sûr) et l’huile d’amande. En Provence, ces arbres sont également appréciés pour leur floraison spectaculaire au printemps, qui rend encore plus belle notre Provence.

Les amandiers Provence's Almond Trees

Beautiful Blossoms

When do almond trees bloom? (Quand fleurissent les amandiers ?)

In Provence, almond trees typically bloom at the end of winter, between February and April. The exact timing can vary depending on factors like temperature, altitude, and latitude. Almond blossoms are often very spectacular, forming landscapes of particular beauty.

Les amandiers fleurissent généralement à la fin de l’hiver, entre février et avril en Provence. Le moment exact peut varier en fonction de facteurs comme la température, l’altitude et la latitude. Les fleurs d’amandier sont souvent très spectaculaires, formant des paysages d’une beauté particulière.

Where do almond trees bloom? (Où fleurissent les amandiers ?)

Almond trees bloom in various regions worldwide, but they are particularly associated with Mediterranean climates. Mediterranean regions such as Spain, Italy, Greece, and southern France are famous for flowering almond orchards.

Les amandiers fleurissent dans diverses régions du monde, mais ils sont particulièrement associés aux climats méditerranéens. Les régions méditerranéennes telles que l’Espagne, l’Italie, la Grèce, et le sud de la France sont célèbres pour leurs champs d’amandiers en fleurs.

Discovering Provence's Almond Trees

Almond Essentials

Almond trees are fruit trees that offer succulent almonds. Here’s the essential information to know about almond trees. There are two types of almond trees: sweet ones that produce edible almonds and bitter almond trees with nuts containing toxic compounds. Almond trees generally bloom at the end of winter, creating spectacular landscapes with white or pink flowers. These trees thrive in Mediterranean climates, but they can also be grown in regions with hot and dry summers. Almonds are typically harvested in the fall.

Les amandiers sont des arbres fruitiers qui offrent de succulentes amandes. Je vous livre ici l’essentiel à savoir sur les amandiers. Il existe deux types d’amandiers : les amandiers doux qui produisent des amandes comestibles et les amandiers amers dont les amandes contiennent des composés toxiques. Les amandiers fleurissent généralement à la fin de l’hiver, créant des paysages spectaculaires de fleurs blanches ou roses. Ces arbes prospèrent dans des climats méditerranéens, mais ils peuvent également être cultivés dans des régions avec des étés chauds et secs. Les amandes sont récoltées généralement à l’automne.

Discovering Provence's Almond Trees

Almonds Growers in Provence

Provence is a region of France renowned for its beautiful landscapes, including its flowering almond trees. The Valensole Plateau is famous for its lavender fields, but it’s also an ideal place to see flowering almond trees. It is located between the Luberon and the Verdon Gorges. The Calanques National Park is another place where you can spot almond trees.

The Durance Valley stretches between the Luberon and the Alps. It’s an ideal place to see flowering almond trees. To do so, I invite you to explore cities like Manosque, Pertuis, and Cavaillon. The Luberon Regional Natural Park in Provence, known for its picturesque landscapes, offers a great opportunity to see flowering almond trees.  The Alpilles are a range of hills located in southern Provence. Villages like Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Les Baux-de-Provence offer stunning views of almond trees.

La Provence est une région de la France réputée pour ses paysages magnifiques, y compris ses amandiers en fleurs. Le plateau de Valensole est célèbre pour ses champs de lavande, mais il s’agit aussi d’un endroit idéal pour voir des amandiers en fleurs. Il se situe entre le Luberon et les gorges du Verdon. Le parc national des Calanques est également un endroit où vous pourrez apercevoir des amandiers.

La vallée de la Durance s’étend entre le Luberon et les Alpes. C’est un endroit idéal pour voir des amandiers en fleurs. Pour cela, je vous invite à explorer des villes telles que Manosque, Pertuis et Cavaillon. Le parc naturel régional du Luberon, en Provence, est réputé pour ses paysages pittoresques. L’occasion idéale pour apercevoir des amandiers en fleurs. Les Alpilles sont une chaîne de collines située au sud de la Provence. Des villages comme Saint-Rémy-de-Provence et les Baux-de-Provence offrent de superbes vues sur les amandiers.

Guide to the Villages of the Alpilles

Recipes with Almonds

Almonds are versatile in cooking. They are used in desserts, savoury dishes, and beverages and are pressed to produce almond oil. Almonds are rich in nutrients and benefit heart health and weight management.

Les amandes sont polyvalentes en cuisine. Elles sont utilisées dans les desserts, les plats salés, les boissons, et sont aussi pressées pour produire de l’huile d’amande.  Elles sont sont riches en nutriments, bénéfiques pour la santé cardiaque et la gestion du poids.

Spiced and Roasted Almonds of Valensole
A quick-to-make snack perfect for a cocktail hour or just to have in the pantry (If you don't eat them all before you can store them). Tasty roasted almonds with a hint of spice that make them an incredible snack that is good for any occasion.
Check out this recipe
Spiced and Roasted Almonds of Valensole
Lamb Tagine with Prunes and Almonds
A delicious Moroccan recipe that can easily be prepared in Provence!
Check out this recipe
Morocco Lamb Tagine with Prunes and Almonds
Chicken, Carrot and Apricot Tagine
The sweetness of the apricots paired with the savoury chicken and golden roasted almonds makes for a meal to remember.
Check out this recipe
Chicken Carrot Apricot tagine Recipe uno casa
Christmas Almond Crescent Cookies
A fantastic treat for the Holidays and plenty to share with family and friends!
Check out this recipe
Almond Crescents Christmas Cookie
Almond and Fig Cake
This cake is quick to prepare. It is a sweet treat that is perfect with a hot cup of coffee or tea or just as lovely with some wine. Delicious, and even better still, enjoyed with friends and a glass of wine
Check out this recipe
Almond and Fig Cake Recipe
Almond Tartlets with Red Berries (Tartes Amandine aux fruits rouges)
Here is a simple enough and versatile recipe for a delicious tea time or a goûter (snack time). Tartlets make a fun dessert to share with your friends or loved ones and should delight all gourmets.
Check out this recipe
Almond tarts with red berries (Tartes Amandine aux fruits rouges)

Almonds: A Reason to Visit Provence in Winter

Winter may not be the season that initially entices you to discover Provence. And yet. During the winter, temperatures remain pleasant. You can enjoy ice cream in Cassis in a T-shirt in the middle of January. Traffic is lighter, and parking spaces are more abundant. This is not always a trivial detail. And, as you may have guessed, it’s possible to discover magnificent things during this beautiful season, including flowering almond trees. But I could also tell you about the Mimosa route or the Camargue.

Visiting Provence in the Winter

L’hiver n’est pas la saison qui donne aux premiers abords le plus envie pour découvrir la Provence. Et pourtant… Pendant l’hiver, les températures restent toujours agréables. Il est possible de manger sa glace à Cassis en T-Shirt en plein mois de janvier. La circulation est moins dense et les places de parking plus nombreuses. Ceci n’est pas toujours un détail. Et enfin vous l’aurez compris, il est possible de découvrir de magnifiques choses pendant cette superbe saison, dont les amandiers en fleurs. Mais je pourrais aussi vous parler de la Route des Mimosas ou encore de la Camargue.

If you come to visit me for an immersive stay in Provence, I will introduce you to the various aspects of Provence: the landscapes and scents, but also the culture and gastronomy. All that while helping you improve your French. See you soon in Provence!

Read About French Immersion in Provence

Si vous venez chez moi pour un séjour d’immersion en Provence, je vous ferai découvrir les différents aspects de la Provence : les paysages et les senteurs, mais aussi la culture, la gastronomie… tout en vous aidant à améliorer votre français. A bientôt en Provence !


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Virginie Van Der Wees

Virginie Van Der Wees lives with her young family near the Montagne Sainte Victoire, a short 20-minute drive from Aix-En-Provence. She is a masseuse and a certified French teacher for non-French speakers. Since 2018, Virginie puts together full immersion experiences that include hosting and supporting language learners at their family home.

The Virginie in Provence curriculum allows students to build on their knowledge and move to the next level and beyond – all while enjoying the wonders that Provence has to offer. Suitable for any age group, Virginie offers adapted, tailor-made solutions for clients who are moving to Provence. This program allows them to improve their French and overcome cultural changes. Virginie also provides classic French lessons and cooking lessons (in French) online or at the client’s home.

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