At the end of the year 2012 and the beginning of 2013, a small group of our Olive Oil Tour team went to the French regions of Hautes-Alpes, Provence and Côte Azur to discover, compare and taste the olive oils, the olives, the tapenades and other local products, but most of all, to talk to the olive oil producers and the experts that work in the olive oil mills. We will summarize here all the wonders that we enjoyed there and that we want to share with you. Each paragraph will be further developed in different articles that we will publish in the future in our blog, so if you want to learn more about our trip, keep logged in!
We wandered in the markets where we admired the way the olives are presented. There, we saw really interesting things, like dried olives. These olives are sold dried to allow people to flavour them as desired.
They have to be put in boiling brine and marinated later, giving the olives a personal touch. We tasted some local specialties, like the “croustinade”, a delicious olive spread, prepared with red peppers and onions.
We really enjoyed our visit to the Rossignol mill, that has belonged to the same family for 4 generations. There we were warmly welcomed by the 3rd and 4th generations. They shared with us their family experience in this hard job. They showed us how people and machines have had to adapt to the modern developments that have taken place with time. We also had the chance to admire some beautiful olive oil presses and magnificent old mills.
After visiting the wonderful olive groves of “La Royrie”, located in Grasse, Mr. Brault, the owner and producer, enlightened us about the production of their organic olive oil. He also shared with us all the passion that they invests in obtaining an excellent high quality olive oil by controlling all the possible factors that go into the production of olive oil (pruning the olive trees, water stress, …. Plants, analysis, harvest, etc). The Braults strive constantly to improve their excellent olive oils, so congratulations to them!
Our visit to the Olive tree Ecomuseum in Volx was quite instructive and inspirational. There we saw the origins of the wild olive trees, the growing methods, the pests that can affect them, which countries produce olive oil, the frauds committed, how to recognize different aromas in the oils and many more things! They haven’t left anything out!
We also tasted many delicious olive oils! Some of them had the Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) of Haute-Provence (produced with the aglandau olive variety) and the DOP of Nice (produced with the cailletier olive variety). The flavours of these oils are quite different to those of the ones produced in our region: quite aromatic, fully bodied and not bitter at all. Some of them have even won silver and gold medals in Paris in 2012! What really surprised us was the symbol that many of these oils have in their labels, “green fruitiness”, “ripe fruitiness” and “black fruitiness”, that describe not only the different flavours of these oils but also the harvesting periods and techniques.