It was different from what I had imagined. On the internet I had seen colorful purple fields. In my mind I smelled the strong sweet smell, taken on a warm breeze from the Mediterranean Sea.
But the reality was different. It was not a disappointment, because I knew we were not in the right season. Together with my girlfriend, I was in Provence last summer. Foreign tourists visit the Keukenhof in the spring for the tulip fields. Around August they are in Provence. If I have to believe it, then it is spectacular. The colors and scents of lavender, the warmth and the atmosphere.
We had set up our tent in the town of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. It is an idyllic place with wonderful restaurants and a stone staircase to old church among the rocks. High above the center a star hangs on a chain between two rocks. The story of the star is surrounded by mysteries. The inhabitants now attribute the star to a knight who went on a crusade and was captured there. During his imprisonment, he had sworn to hang a silver star over Moustiers upon return.
In addition to the path to the church, experienced walkers can also walk to the chain where the star is attached. Although I had my roadbike with me during this holiday, we have walked a lot. Like the trip to the chain, but also several walks in the Gorges du Verdon.
The Gorges du Verdon is a gap of more than 25 kilometers that has been carved by the river Verdon. The rock walls reach up to 700 meters. It is not for nothing that it is also called the French Grand Canyon. After a long walk through the cliff, along the rapids and waterfalls of the Verdon, we were tired and hungry.
Back in Moustier we decided to eat at one of the fancy restaurants. The waiter did his best, but he was as good in English as I was in the French language. I decided to choose a random dish on the menu. The waiter looked surprised, spoke a few sentences in the incomprehensible French and then shrugged his shoulders.
It tasted exquisite, but some peculiar bones remained on my plate. After I had translated the name of the dish, it became clear to me that I had eaten sheep's feet. A local delicacy.
Herbs for cognition
A sheep's feet in itself is not that special. The secret to good food lies in the preparation, the timing and the mix of flavors. This also applies to this dish. It was well cooked in a mix of good butter, delicious vegetables and tasty herbs.
Sometimes that is not necessary. Fresh ravioli (stuffed pasta) does not need much more than onions, garlic and olive oil. In many other cases, a dish can win a huge amount by using the right herbs.
This is also a way to combine the pleasant with the useful. By using the right herbs you can also boost your brain. Three examples are: ginko biloba, ginseng and lavender.
Ginko biloba is getting widely known. Not without reason, because this herb has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. The ginko tree (Japanese walnut tree) also has something stately: the tree grows to around 30 to 40 meters high and can become 4,000 years old. The leaves of the tree or seeds are processed into a herb. In Japan and China, the seeds are eaten as a kind of cocktail nuts. If you buy them here, for example at the toko, you can use them in a soup or salad.
Research publications claim that the herb has a positive effect on the maintenance of the brain cells and the production of new compounds in the brain. This ensures, among other things, an improved memory and more concentration. A point of attention is that ginko has a blood-thinning effect, so that you do not have to combine it with aspirin or ibuprofen.
Ginseng is a root of the Panax. It has been used in Asia for centuries, just like Gingko. Today it is one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world. It seems to support the body in dealing with stress and it has a positive influence on the brain, among other things through the protection against toxic substances and biological damage.
You can drink Ginseng as a tea or in dishes such as smoothies or a soup. The advantage of this is that you already get a large dose of vegetables and you do not notice the somewhat bitter taste of ginseng anyway.
Although the lavender had blossomed when we visited Provence, there were still plenty of places where we could buy lavender oil. This oil is not suitable for use in the kitchen, but in the bath. The scent of lavender has a relaxing and soothing effect. That is why you often find this herb in bath oils. Another method that I sometimes use is to apply a few drops of lavender oil on my upper lip just before bedtime.
Do not you feel like going to the market or the shop? The ideal herbal mix for lazy (or efficient?) people are nootropics. Like the nootropics of Paneuromix. In addition to Ginko Biloba and Gingeng, the caps also contain Huperzia Serrata, Alpha GPC and Rhodolia Rhosea. I will write again about the background and effect of the last three ingredients.
Lavender? That is not in most nootropics. Do you want to fall asleep with visions of purple lavender fields and a delicious glass of French wine? Then let your bath fill with water with a few drops of oil. Or drop lavender oil on your upper lip just before bedtime.
I guarantee: you will sleep well. Maybe you dream about your French childhood love or the knight from Moustiers.