Today is ‘clove day’. For newcomers – each day in the year the French Republican Calendar nominated a different flower, fruit or agricultural implement, and today is clove day. I am sure you all want to know what the bottle of Chanel perfume is doing in the picture. If you promise not to read the last paragraph . . . I will explain.
Cloves come from an evergreen bush that is indigenous to Indonesia, Pakistan and the Spice Islands. Today we mainly recognise cloves in the kitchen. They are used extensively in Moroccan cuisine where they help make a perfect paste with cumin, paprika, coriander and fennel for smearing over lamb prior to roasting. Of course at Christmas they help make a perfect mulled wine when piercing oranges and bobbing in the red wine pot.
But why did the eminent professors in Republican France choose mid summer for ‘clove day’. The clue is that lavender that is in flower at the moment. Like lavender, cloves were used in perfumes to create essential oils and often forms one of the base notes. And so it will be of no surprise when I tell you that lavender day is July 2nd !