Sweet cherries (prunus avium) are quite demanding to grow, requiring a very particular soil microclimate to thrive; Provence offers the perfect conditions in which to grow the fruit used to make glacé cherries.
What makes Provence different
- Temperature: The sweet cherry (prunus avium), grown specifically to make glacé cherries, is less resistant to prolonged cold spells in winter than its sour cherry counterpart, prunus cerasus. Spring frosts are a major factor in inhibiting sweet cherry tree growth, so the Mediterranean climate in Provence suits the needs of this fussy species perfectly.
- Light: Long hours of sunshine are one of the major features of the Mediterranean climate, and cherry trees crave light. It encourages branch growth, flower induction and development of fruiting spurs.
- Rainfall: The sweet cherry requires fairly limited amounts of water. The annual rainfall in Provence and the Languedoc is ideal for the cherry tree, for which too much rain is far worse than too little. Where irrigation is available, it is deployed after the harvest and has no impact on fruit quality.
- Expert growers: The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region (predominantly Vaucluse), the Languedoc Roussillon region (Gard, Hérault Aude,) Drôme and the Ardèche are home to 63% of the sweet cherry orchards in France, and account for almost 100% of fruit grown for glacé cherries. It is a very specialised market, and the expertise of growers in these areas is unrivalled.