First of all, my favorite store? The Gardener. My mother claims that when this store first opened they did actually sell gardening supplies, but now it mostly sells various objets...the type of sleek, perfectly balanced, very tasteful household and outdoor accessories that affluent Berkleyites tend to favor. And that the odd Bay Area native now living in New York who is decidedly not affluent also loves.
Things like these Japanese flower shears, for instance:
Hinoki bathmats (and way cheaper than the ones from Viva Terra!).
And organic style tableware.
Sadly for all those non-Bay Area residents, the website does not represent the full breadth of the inventory in the stores, but if you do live out there in god's country and can visit the bricks and mortar store, you are among the lucky ones!
Anyway, back to my soap. As I was walking through the Ferry Building and was drawn into The Gardener store, I detected the fresh, invigorating scent of lemongrass. Where on earth is this coming from, I mused. From a basket of La Lavande soap, apparently. I couldn't resist picking up a few bars ($3.50 each) to take back to New York with me.
As it turns out, they not only smell phenomenal, but also create a silky, lush lather. It is all a very welcome experience first thing in the morning, from when I pull back the shower curtain and get a hint of the olfactory experience to come, to when the hot water hits the bar and I am swept away by the citrusy, astringent lather.
Even Paul, who is, despite being otherwise unconcerned with grooming products, quite picky about his soap, commented on the loveliness of the scent and lather. And let me tell you, there is no higher recommendation than the thumbs up of a big burly Englishman when it comes to genteel soaps.