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Britta: Olives

June 3, 2010
Wednesday afternoon we ventured on up near the estate where Johnny Depp owns a home. We did not get to visit Mr. Depp, instead we visited Les Oliviers du Mas des Vautes. We learned about various olive trees, the picking season, and how olive oil and tapenade are made. We also got to taste test their gold medal winning olive oil!

Les Oliviers du Mas des Vautes is a family owned and operated company with 13 hectares of olive trees from the 16th century without pesticide or chemical treatment. All their products are made right on their property and the caps and labels for all the jars are put on by hand. 1 tonne of olives are picked everyday and passed through their mill the following day. “Au Mas, nous travaillons la qualité et non la quantité.”

We were bought into one of their many olive groves and learned about Lucque olives and Picholine olives. Lucque olives are known as an Olive de Table, which are the olives you get as tapas or just eat out of a jar. It takes 10 kilos of Lucques to make 1 liter of olive oil. Picholine olives are the olives that are used to make olive oil. It only takes 4-8 kilos of picholines to make 1 liter of olive oil. Olive season is from September to October and they must be hand picked or gently shaken off from the tree.

Other Olive Info:

  • All olives start green.
  • 20% of the flowers on an olive tree with turn into olives—80% of them are lost.
  • Don’t eat the olive straight from the tree! Olives are soaked in a brine or salt mixture to remove the bitterness and add flavor.
  • All olive oil must be tested in a lab for acidity, if the acidity is from:0 -> 0.8 it is Extra Virgin. 0.8 -> 2 it is Virgin. Two and above are used for soaps and shampoos.

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