A few years ago we had a lovely jazz singer to stay. She has a friend who lives close by here who makes soap and she told us that her friend's soap was exceptional. Now, I don't know about you, but to me the notion of making soap seems somehow rather arcane. It's a process I know practically nothing about, I just know that like anything that's good, it takes effort, knowledge and skill to make it terrific as opposed to ordinary, and, hey, we all know that most bars of soap do the job in a wet and suddy kind of way but, basically, ordinary is missing the point. Isn't it?
So. Ripple, lather, dissolve. For the last couple of years we've bought our delicious organic soap from the Savonnerie de Saint Privat. (Her lavender soap, by the way, is the very same gorgeous, purple stuff sold by Neal's Yard.) Anyway I phoned the savonerie yesterday to find out if she or her partner were going to have a stall at Clermont market. She told me she'd just had a baby and wasn't going to be making any soap for the next year or two. Eekamouse. PANIC.
So today, on her advice, I headed for the Olive Oil Co-operative at Clermont l'Herault which is where all the local growers take their olives to be pressed. I discovered that it also has rather a fantastic shop, which apart from olive oil also sells regional artisanal products like wine, pottery, honey and wine. And soap. Lots and lots of soap. And also our girl's soap.
I bought it out.
So, when you arrive, you may find in your soapdish:
Honey and Geranium (miel et geranium)
Rosemary and Spirulina (romarin et spirulin)
Orange and Cinammon (orange et cannelle)
I drove back with the car heavily, headily, drowsily pungent with all of the above. Oh my, oh my, it smelt good.
We can't actually afford to give you a whole big bar of these soaps because, like most things good, they're pretty expensive and it would be enormously wasteful to throw out almost all of a bar each time. So we hope you enjoy trying a taste of something that couldn't be more real or more local.