Basil: the fragrant

Discover the culture and cuisine of basil: this common aromatic of the vegetable gardens of Provence, which accompanies many of our dishes during the summer.

Page updated on 28/09/2020

Culture and Cuisine

Basil is an aromate originating in India and South Asia imported into the Mediterranean in the 3rd century. It owes its name to the Latin term “Basilicum” meaning “royal plant” because its aroma and fragrance were so rich that it was supposed to be only worthy of kings.
Chilled, this plant that grows in the summer in the open ground or in pot is present in our early and in our markets from May to September. You will find very easily:

Big green basil

With broad leaves slightly blistered and giving off a fragrance combining the aromas of anise, clove and nutmeg. It's the basil of the famous pistou soup.

Green fine basil

With small, light-green oval leaves with the reputation of being more fragrant.
You will also find lemon basil, anise basil, cinnamon basil, mint basil, purple basil...

In Provence, the local name “pistou” refers to a cold and creamy sauce composed of crushed basil, garlic and olive oil. It enriches the famous “pistou soup” with its warm and spicy aroma and can also be used with pasta, salads, spread on toasts or as a side with grilled meat.

Do not confuse the “pesto” from Genoa and the “pistou” from Provence. Unlike its Italian cousin, the Pistou is prepared without gable or cheese.

Le Saviez-vous ?


A dish “au bouquet de Provence” evokes a cuisine with the scents of the garrigue.
Basil or bouquet garni (small bundle of Mediterranean aromatic herbs) represent the main seasonings of Provencal gastronomy. Making a bouquet garni is an art, a subtle dosage of aromatic proportions according to their properties, without letting any dominate. Dipped, tied in hot preparations, the bouquet garni releases its full aroma. A piece of string on the outside of the dish makes it easy to remove it at the end of cooking.


Rich in vitamins A, E, C and K basil is an excellent antioxidant, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory.

Thanks to its fragrance and components, it reduces stress and nervousness.

To extend its use beyond summer, store the leaves by freezing them to preserve their full flavour. Do not dry them.

To feel and understand the history of basil:
La ferme aux Basilics à Roussillon
From the beginning of June to the end of September/Call before going to the site: 06 71 04 22 38

Photo gallery

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Practical information on Basil: the fragrant

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