By taking the olives through a process of "curing", (to take the bitterness out of them), which involves soaking for several weeks in either brine, dry salt, water or lye, these bitter little berries turn into the delicious and healthy treats that we see throughout Provence on market stands and in stores.
|No Provencal market would be compete without an olive merchant|
Late in August and on through September, we are treated to the sights and sounds of the Vendange or wine harvest ..... now .... we're almost ready for the olive harvest, which will bring with it, olive oil mills churning for long hours each day from October until January, as growers bring their newly harvested crop to be pressed for the next year's olive oil supply.
|The little olive tree (olivier) in the courtyard at Maison des Pelerins|
|Our own olives!|
This year - I look forward to getting back and tasting our olives again - thanks to our very kind neighbors!
A few Provence "Olive" facts that may be of interest if you are visiting the area between late October and January.
Of course, cured eating olives are readily available at any number of stores, and a market would not be complete without an Olive merchant, but if you are interested in learning more about the process of olive oil milling, there are a number of oil mills in the area nearby "les Pelerins."
The closest in distance is the Moulin a Huile de Balmeenne at Beaumes de Venise, in the center of the village on the Avenue Jules Ferry. They are open all year round from Monday to Saturday : 9 – 12 a.m. and 2 – 6.30 p.m. The olive oil from Beaumes de Venise is smooth and fruity - delicious for salads, vegetables, veal and fish.
Nyons, 16 kilometers north of Vaison la Romaine is a well known and prolific Olive Oil producing area. It prides itself on producing some of the best olive oil in France.
L'Institut du Monde de l'Olivier: olive oil tastings. Tel: 04 75 26 90 90
Moulin Ramade: A working family mill which has a large diplay of Nyons Appelation d'Origine Controlee olive oils and other olive products www.moulinramade.com Tel: 04 75 26 08 28
Le Musee de l'Olivier: Tel: 04 75 27 17 22
Favorite Olive Foods:
Catherine's Cake aux Olives
This recipe , although called a Cake, is savory and served with Aperitifs. My neighbor served it last year to such rave reviews that I just had to get the recipe. They were at La Baume the following evening and much to my delight, Catherine found a piece of blank paper and wrote the recipe from memory!
4 rounded tablespoons AP Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup black olives, pitted and cut in halves
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Beat eggs until thick and light yellow in color. Fold in flour & baking powder. Add salt, milk & olive oil. Mix gently until just combined.
2. Coat olives lightly with some flour. Stir in cheese and olives.
3. Pour into a greased, floured cake tin.
4. Bake at 375 deg. F for 30 - 40 minutes.
5. Remove from cake tin right away and serve.
Tapanade: Finely chopped or ground olives with garlic, capers and anchovies. It is made from either black or green olives and served as an hors d'ouvre on crisp french bread or crackers.
Between October and January, a number of towns and villages have Festivals to celebrate the new harvest. If you are travelling in the area, look out for posters advertising activities in the nearby towns.
|Look out for posters advertising "olive" events when you are traveling Provence at this time of year|
Have I not always said that we have the best guests at "les Pelerins"?