Saturday, April 18, 2009

huile d'olive

So yet another blog about food...and food tasting...what can i say i have to "profiter" as they say in france. My program hosted an olive oil tasting last week, and I learned a lot about it! France isn't thought of as a major producer of olive oils - it ranks 15th in the world with only 4,000 tons. Italy, Spain, and Greece produce the most in the world - France got a little behind because of a huge frost in 1956 that killed 2/3 of all its olive trees. Nonetheless, Provence is very famous for its olives and olive oils. When I go to the market, most people are selling olives, tapenades (crushed up olives put with different flavors like sundried tomatoes, anchovies, etc), or olive oil.

Jenna (the lady who was running the tasting) explained to us how much effort it takes just to produce a little bit of oil! That is why it is so expensive. It takes 5-7 kilos of olives to make 1 liter of olive oil! We tasted some oils from the region, which contain Aglandou, Saloneque, Grossance, Verdale, and Picholine olives. One of the oils, called Castelas-Maussane, tasted just like fresh cut grass! I thought it was disgusting, but Jenna told me that that was one of her most popular oils! We tasted the oil off of a little spoon; it was weird at first, but then I began to realize all of the different flavors in olive oil. They don't all taste the same! Jenna said she always has a teaspoon of oil olive before she drinks alcohol because it lines your stomach and protects you from getting drunk/hungover. Plus she uses it in salad dressing, with vegetables, cooking, anything! But she warned us that when you cook the olive oil the taste changes. I wonder if any French olive oils are available in the US? (Hannah beautiful picture...I stole it! tres bien fait cherie)

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