here are two spice and herb vendors at the marché. My favorite has at least 100 burlap bags brimming with colorful herbs and spices tucked around the base of a plane tree. It's a tempting display and a place to stock up for the season.
The influence of North African, Spanish and Italian cuisine on provençal cooking becomes readily apparent from the tremendous range of spices and herbs that are available.

Most items are sold in quantities of a deci-litre or double deci-litre which are small enough to pack easily into a suitcase to take home. I find everything here very tempting, but I try to restrict what I buy to things that aren't readily available in the U.S such as "ras el hanout", a blend of over 25 spices used to flavor couscous, and "rouille", a piquant red pepper powder that's used to flavor an aïoli for bouillabaisse.

Each year I stock up on bottes of saffron to use as hostess presents during the year and also to use liberally in bouillabaisse and risottos. While prices have risen steadily over the years (now up to FF 15 - $3.00), this saffron is still an incredible bargain compared to prices in the U.S. and it's reliably good quality.

If you're in a romantic mood:
  • make your own potpourri, choosing from a colorful display of dried bleuet flowers, rose buds, roses of Pakistan, fleur d'organer, feuille cassis, tilleul and citronelle.

If you enjoy freshly grated nutmeg:

  • don't pass up connoisseur's nutmeg grinder sold here. The grinder looks like a small pepper grinder with a clip that grasps the whole nutmeg inside the plastic container. A sharp blade at the base shaves the thinnest slices off a thin sliver of nutmeg with just a twist of the wrist.


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