Most of the Provencal herbs sold in stores are not authentically French

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The majority of Provence herbs, the all-purpose seasoning that is sprinkled on steaks before throwing them on the barbecue, does not actually come from France, say industry experts.

“Of the 500 tonnes of aromatic blend labeled herbs from Provence and sold on the French market, only 20 tonnes are of purely French origin,” said a spokesperson for CPPARM. “They stand out very clearly in terms of quality. The seasoning is a mixture of some or all of the following: thyme, rosemary, oregano, savory, marjoram, sage, lovage, bay leaf, parsley and tarragon.

However, depending on price and availability, manufacturers often go beyond Provence to source ingredients. Plants at any time can come from several countries in the Mediterranean basin, such as Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey. One producer said he used thyme from Poland.

The name Provence herbs is unprotected, which means that a blend of herbs of any origin can be packaged and labeled as such.

Only around 4% of Provence herbs are genuine and sold under the Label Rouge – the French brand that certifies that a product is of better quality than similar products on the market.

The Provence herbs mix is, surprisingly, a relatively new product.

It became a definite herbal blend in the 1960s when American chef Julia Child included a recipe for sautéed chicken with Provence herbs in his famous cookbook Mastering the art of French cuisine. A few years later, the French brand Ducros launched into the packaging and marketing of Provence herbs blend in with clients living abroad.

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