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French Olive Oil
gourmet articlesarchivefrench olive oil
French olive oil has recently become available to the American market. Olive oil is the liquid gold of Provence and is the only region of France where it is produced. Like wine, the flavors of olive oil reflect the soils and climates in which the olives are grown. And, further more, olive oils have their grand crus and their exceptional years. French olive oil is known for its elegance, refinement, complexity and subtlety, making it a rare and precious commodity. Unlike Spain, which produces 970,000 tons of olive oil annually, and Italy, producing 420,000 tons, the French production of olive oil is only 2,400 tons and harvested by hand. Production is increasing annually with the increased planting of trees every year.

Most extra-virgin, first cold pressed olive oils have an Appellation d’Origine Controle (AOC) certificate, guaranteeing specific yield and production standards set by the Institut National d’Appellation d’Origine. The AOC certificate assures that the olives are grown in France and the olive oil is produced in France, respecting certain criteria, such as density of plantation, harvesting methods, size minimums, and preparation without the use of chemicals or artificial preservatives. The yield and production of the total area must be declared to the Institut, so as to assure that no olive oil from other areas is added. In order to obtain the certificate of approval, every plot is subject to analyses and tastings before production.

The different tastes of olive oil are derived from a variety of factors: the type of olive, the soil, the amount of sunlight, when the olives are harvested and production methods. Generally speaking, French oils are not bitter because of the varietals themselves and because the olives are picked when they are ripe.

What to expect when tasting a French olive oil: A sensuous, refined, subtle oil, soft, fruity, never bitter with an exceptionally low acidity. Production has been small and we expect it to remain so for some time.

Lydie Marshall, who was once named the best cooking teacher in New York by Mimi Sheraton, Food Editor of The New York Times, and now owns Chez Lydie en Provence cooking school in Nyons, France, likes to serve a tossed green salad with croutons made from bread rubbed with garlic and soaked in olive oil from Nyons. For a light lunch, eggs cooked sunny side up in olive oil are then deglazed with wine vinegar and served with a salad. She also serves raspberries marinated in verbena tea and tossed with a very small amount of olive oil - very refreshing! If vinegar is to be combined with the olive oil for a dressing, it is suggested that a light vinegar be used to experience the subtle flavor of the oil.

If you would like to purchase French Olive Oil Contact:

Francesca de Bardin - 212-679-4674
EMail: [email protected]

Francvin, Inc.
300 East 34th Street
Suite 33C
New York, NY 10016
phone: 212-679-4674
fax: 212-725-8681

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