"Herbes de Provence" evoke warm, sunny days lazing by the pool or on the beach, and meals of grilled meats, ratatouille and chilled rosé wine. There's no rigid recipe for the herb blend - every producer has their own - but it should be composed of herbs that are widely used in the cuisine of the French region. The blend can contain varying amounts of any or all of the following: dried basil, thyme, fennel seed, rosemary, savory, tarragon, oregano, marjoram and chervil. Some producers add lavender flowers in small amounts (too much and your food will taste like grandma's perfume).

The herb blend goes well with grilled meats and seafood: season the chicken, beef, lamb or pork with sea salt, then rub with olive oil, sprinkle with herbes de Provence and leave to marinate for an hour or so before cooking over coals or wood.

It's easy enough to make your own herbes de Provence mixture, which you can fine-tune according to whatever you're cooking: omit the rosemary and increase the fennel, for instance, if you're making fish, or leave out the tarragon and use more rosemary and oregano for grilled lamb.