Herbs de Provence and Italian seasoning – two popular herb blends that have graced many a kitchen shelf, adding a burst of flavor to a variety of dishes. Although they share some similarities, these two blends also have unique characteristics that distinguish them from each other. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between Herbs de Provence and Italian seasoning, their origins, typical components, and uses in the kitchen.
Herbs de Provence: The Taste of Southern France
Herbs de Provence, as the name suggests, hails from the Provence region of France. This herb blend captures the essence of sunny, southern France, and can vary slightly in composition based on the producer.
Typically, Herbs de Provence includes a blend of dried herbs such as thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano, and sometimes lavender flowers. The addition of lavender is more common in blends made for the North American market and lends a unique and slightly sweet flavor to this mix.
Herbs de Provence is often used in traditional Provencal cuisine, which is known for its olive oil-based dishes and seafood. It’s a perfect addition to grilled foods, baked goods, and stews, imparting a warm, aromatic quality to dishes.
Italian Seasoning: Mediterranean Flavors
Italian seasoning, on the other hand, is a blend more familiar to the American pantry, designed to mimic the flavors of Italy. It typically contains a combination of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram. Sometimes, sage, cilantro, and red pepper flakes may be included in the mix. Unlike Herbs de Provence, Italian seasoning does not contain lavender.
As the name suggests, Italian seasoning is a fantastic addition to dishes where you want to create a Mediterranean flair. From pasta sauces and pizza to soups, stews, and salad dressings, this versatile blend complements a wide variety of dishes.
While both Herbs de Provence and Italian seasoning contain some of the same herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano, there are a few key differences between them:
Lavender: This is perhaps the most notable difference. Herbs de Provence often includes lavender, while Italian seasoning does not. This gives Herbs de Provence a slightly floral note that’s not found in Italian seasoning.
Sage: Italian seasoning sometimes includes sage, an herb not commonly found in Herbs de Provence. Sage gives Italian seasoning a slightly peppery and piney flavor.
Culinary Uses: While both can be used interchangeably in many dishes, Herbs de Provence is often used in roasted meats, fish, and vegetable dishes, while Italian seasoning is a favorite for pasta sauces, pizzas, and Italian soups.
In conclusion, while Herbs de Provence and Italian seasoning share some similarities, they each offer unique flavors. Both are incredibly versatile and can add a burst of flavor to a variety of dishes. So whether you’re looking to capture the taste of sunny southern France or the comforting flavors of Italy, these herb blends have got you covered!