Nougat with pistachios at the Provencal confectionery of Roy Rene. Gerard Julien/AFP
Pistachios are a staple of the vaunted French aperitif, but the nuts come from thousands of miles away — a situation a handful of farmers in the southern Provence region hope to change.
Although wild uncultivated pistachios can be found across the hills hugging the Mediterranean Sea in southern France, remnants of trees brought over from Syria by the Romans, it is vineyards and fruit orchards that dominate the rugged landscape.
But now, weather conditions that can increasingly include long dry spells could herald the return of drought-resistant pistachio trees in the coming years.
"You're better off planting pistachios instead of selling your land to a property developer.
"It's a gamble but we're not crazy, we've got both feet on the ground," said Jean-Louis Joseph, co-founder of an association which aims to promote the homegrown nuts.
This year, he planted 600 pistachio trees amid the grape vines, olive trees and truffle oaks on his plots in the Luberon region, their young trunks protected from deer by electric fencing.
He chose two varieties, one from Greece and another called the Kerman Pistachio which originated in Iran, a major pistachio producer.
"Oh, I'm sure it'll work. The trees are beautiful, all the ones I bought have taken root, we did everything right," Joseph told AFP.
He said that his research had turned up records of Crusaders having brought back pistachio trees, and of local pistachio vendors at Provence markets in the 19th century.
But while pistachio farming persisted in Spain and Italy, it eventually died out in France.
Only around 10 hectares (25 acres) of pistachios are currently planted in France, a figure Joseph's association hopes will double by next year.
Pistachio trees could prove a welcome crop complement for Provence farmers. Gerard Julien/AFP
It makes for a very small part of the 770,000 hectares of Pistacia vera, the nut's scientific name, that are planted worldwide, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.
They have already lined up one major buyer: Olivier Baussan, founder of the L'Occitane en Provence chain of cosmetics and beauty products and owner of the Confiserie du Roy Rene confectionary business.
Baussan has pledged to buy the first French pistachio crops.
"I thought we would find them easily in Provence but that's not the case at all," Baussan told AFP, at his factory.
"The current prices we see for American pistachios would be a very, very good prices for local farmers," he added.
Renowned pastry chef Pierre Herme would also be interested in sourcing French pistachios, according to a spokeswoman, who said he currently works with Iranian nuts.
Pistachio trees could prove a welcome crop complement for Provence farmers, who have seen longer and drier summers in recent years, which most scientists attribute to climate change.
French businessman Olivier Baussan, owner of the Provencal confectionery of Roy Rene. Gerard Julien/AFP
He said that he's had several periods of four to five months without rain in the last few years, "something that hardly ever happened before."
Pistachios could also thrive on the rocky slopes where mainstays like apricots or cherries aren't viable, providing a lifeline for farmers in more challenging weather conditions.
Officials say that one-fourth of farms across the southeastern Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region have disappeared over the past decade.
"You're better off planting pistachios instead of selling your land to a property developer," said Georgia Lambertin, head of the agriculture board for the Vaucluse department.
“30-Minute Vegan Dinners” is the first cookbook from Los Angeles recipe developer and food blogger Megan Sadd, known for her plant-based food blog, Carrots & Flowers, and a Facebook video channel.
The fungus known locally as "Terfas" is the only thing, besides some wild grass, that grows under the desert sands nurtured by the combined effect of rain and cold temperatures at night.
The various types of flours available in the market are bound to confuse anyone who wanders down that particular supermarket aisle. Read on to find out the healthiest to pick.
A lioness is beaten with sticks while her cubs are dragged away -- a Gazan zoo closed after a long campaign has reopened, with conditions seemingly as bad as ever.
Researchers have found that walking may be a key clinical tool in helping doctors accurately identify the specific type of dementia a patient has.
To achieve this plum jam nirvana, start with good fruit. It doesn’t have to be precious stuff — save that for eating fresh — but find fragrant plums and pluots
Buses belching black clouds of smoke in Colombia's city streets could gradually become a thing of the past as two major cities in the South American nation launch fleets of electric buses to curb air pollution and planet-warming carbon emissions.