This weekend the first orange blossom (azahar) was spotted in the centre of Sevilla. This is always the first sign of spring for me, though it never becomes “official” until you see the ya es primavera banners across the windows of El Corte Inglés.

For the next three weeks or so the streets of Seville will smell like heaven. I used to wonder why I found the fragrance of orange blossom so soothing until I found out that azahar has many therapeutic qualities, including its use as a natural sedative. Other therapeutic properties of orange blossom oil (aka Neroli) are antidepressant, antiseptic, anti-infectious, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, bactericidal, carminative, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, cordial, deodorant, digestive, emollient, and tonic. It takes about 1000 lbs. of orange blossoms to make 1 lb. of Neroli oil, which no doubt accounts for its rather hefty price tag.

But as lovely as Neroli is, it is no comparison for the delicate scent of orange blossom in the fresh spring air. Wish you could be here…

[ from azahar’s Sevilla ]