If you live in France or going to be here this summer here’s what you need to know about French olive oil:
1. Don’t look for French olive oil only in supermarkets; you’ll find mostly Italian and Spanish olive oil in shops. The French do not produce a lot of olive oil in comparison with Italy or Spain.
2. ‘Huile d’Olive de France’ on the label is the ‘made in France’ guarantee that the olives were grown in France and that the oil was produced here.
3. If you want to sound knowledgeable when you meet an olive oil producer, ask him which of the Provencal oils you’re going to sample.There are 3 Provencal flavours – Fruité mûr (obtained when the olives are ripe) fruité vert (when the olives are green) and Fruité noir (when the olives are matured)
4. Olive farming takes place in the South of France where the climate is ideal for the olive trees. Corsica is included in the thirteen departments for olive production. Olive oil from Corsica is generally milder as the olives are picked when they are ripe.
5. Check out the olive oil festivals in the different regions of the south this summer. This is where you get to sample all the different types of olives, meet olive oil producers and taste wonderful olive dishes such as tapenade.
The French are beginning to recognize the goodness of extra virgin; 90,000 tons of olive oil is consumed in France every year. Although you won’t find French extra virgin on the middle shelf of the supermarkets as yet, olive oil experts recognize French olive oil to to be one of the best in the world.