French spices and herbs: which are the best online ?

French cuisine is renowned the world over for its finesse and aromatic complexity. This richness of flavour is based on a wide range of spices and aromatic herbs from a varied and generous terroir. Travelling through the different regions of France means immersing yourself in a unique olfactory and gustatory universe, where each herb and spice reveals unsuspected flavours. Here are the best French spices and herbs to find online.

A tour of France's aromatic herbs

A large part of France's culinary richness lies in its wide range of spices and aromatic herbs.

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Thyme and rosemary, the emblematic duo of the South

True emblems of Provençal cuisine, thyme and rosemary are the perfect pairing to flavour the most typical dishes of the South of France. Thyme, with its small, grey leaves and fragrance reminiscent of the Mediterranean hills, is perfect for grilled meats, white meat or fish stews, simmered dishes and country soups.

As for rosemary, its woody, vegetal fragrance adds a depth of flavour to roast meats, sautéed potatoes and marinades. You can find these products online by clicking here.

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Chives and parsley, fresh from the garden

Thin, tender and bright green, chives and flat-leaf parsley add incredible freshness to many dishes and preparations. Chives, with their fine, hollow stems and sweet onion flavour, are a perfect addition to salads, eggs, fish and cold sauces.

Its chopped leaves are a generous sprinkling on omelettes, quiches and raw sauces. Flat-leaf parsley, with its richly cut leaves, has an unmistakeable herbaceous and slightly peppery flavour. Indispensable in the famous gribiche, parsley butter and cream sauces, it can also be used on fish or in soups and stuffings for intense freshness.

Mint, an invigorating fragrance

With its distinctive minty aroma, mint is particularly popular in French cuisine in all its forms. Fresh, there's nothing like its crumpled leaves to liven up a salad, tabouli or iced drink. Dried, it gives a divine flavour to mint tea or marinades for white meats.

Although spearmint is the best known, peppermint adds a more powerful, pungent note, ideal for chutneys, sauces and curries. And let's not forget the delicate chrysanthemum scent of glacier mint. Whether added at the end of cooking or as a garnish, mint adds a welcome burst of freshness to desserts and summer dishes.

Tarragon

Renowned for its aniseed and slightly lemony aroma, tarragon is one of the great flavours of French cuisine. This particularly distinctive aromatic herb is used in the famous Béarnaise sauce, a culinary gem from the South West of France, perfect with grilled or roasted meat.

Fresh or dried tarragon can also be found in seasoning butters, court-bouillons, vinaigrettes and sauce bases. Its chopped leaves are the perfect seasoning for eggs, fish and white meats. Combined with vinegar, fromage frais or yoghurt, it adds a delicate, gourmet note to raw vegetables and accompanying sauces.

French spices, a journey to the Orient

As well as aromatic herbs, French cuisine is enriched by spices from other parts of the world, evidence of a history rich in exchanges and influences.

  • Saffron, the red gold of the French plains: Grown in the Quercy region, saffron adds a unique flavour and incomparable colour to dishes.
  • Savory, the flavour of the land: Popular in south-eastern France, savoury is used to flavour grilled meats, stuffings and stews.
  • Cumin, a touch of the Orient: Mild and fragrant, cumin enhances tagines, couscous and curries.
  • Ginger, spicy and exotic: Fresh or ground, ginger adds a spicy, lemony note to dishes and desserts.

Tips for enhancing your dishes with spices and aromatic herbs

To take full advantage of the aromatic benefits of spices and herbs, there's nothing like fresh, seasonal produce, whose flavours and aromas are more intense. Use them sparingly, however, as their potency means you need to dose them just right. Start with small quantities and add to taste according to your preferences.

And don't be afraid to vary the pleasures by experimenting with new combinations to discover new flavours all the time. Finally, to preserve their heady aromas, make sure you keep your fresh herbs in a cool, dry place: a glass of water in the fridge or gentle drying will be your best allies. Used with care, these herbal marvels will enhance all your dishes with their incomparable notes.