A museum to know everything about olive oil
Tree varieties, harvesting and extraction techniques, its place in the Mediterranean diet, the history and evolution of its uses—the secrets of olive oil from Provence and elsewhere are on display for visitors to the new museum dedicated to this elixir, in Oppède, in the Luberon.
Founded by a wine and olive-growing estate, this educational and engaging place presents objects from popular tradition in a modern scenography—an old mill has even been rebuilt. After this stopover, olive oil will never taste the same!
Musée de l'huile d'olive (External link) (Olive Oil Museum)
A shop to find the oil of your dreams
Do you prefer the aroma of an artichoke, fresh herbs or tomato leaf? Consider this and other matters at Place des Huiles, on the Vieux-Port in Marseille, to determine the best vintage, and most importantly, find the one that meets your tastes.
If you need advice, you can rely on Frédéric Amy, member of the PAO Vallée des Baux jury. This gallery owner has trained in wine tasting in 2015, after having decided to convert his Marseille artistic space into a pantheon of oils.
Its palette includes 22 carefully selected references, with different aromatic intensities, bitterness and "fire" (peppery flavor). This is a spot to surrender to the ultimate in Provençal olive oil—and to Marseille soaps, made with olive oil of course.
Place des Huiles (External link)
A day with the millers
From the Alpilles to the Londe-Les-Maures and the Luberon, the Provençal landscape is dotted with olive trees. Several producers invite visitors to stroll through their orchards to visitors to take a walk before showing them their mills and offering them a tasting.
At Domaine Castelas, in Les Baux-de-Provence, walk among gnarled trees before hearing about production and tasting one of the best vintages of olive oil in Provence.
A little further, in Mouriès, we visit Moulin Saint-Michel, which has received crops from olive growers in the Alpilles since 1744. This is your chance to taste "fruity green" oil (made with olives which color has just turned from green to mauve) produced by the Rossi family, in charge of the modern mill for three generations.
Moulin Saint-Michel (External link)
Celebrating new oil in Aix-en-Provence and Mouriès
The olive harvest generally takes place from November to December. The first press of green fruity olives is exceptional in intensity and pep—this is when the new oil is presented and celebrated by millers during annual festivals in Mouriès and Aix-en-Provence. On the stalls, you can find table olives and products made with the star of the day, in tapenades or cookies.
For tapenade lovers who missed the holidays, olive confectioner Jean Martin has a shop in Maussane-les-Alpilles, where he distributes his olive oil-based products through the region.
Mouriès (External link)
Aix-en-Provence (External link)
Olive Confectioner Jean Martin (External link)
An olive oil bubble of well-being
The nourishing action of olive oil, the relaxing and soothing properties of the flower and the antioxidant properties of olive leaves inspired the creators of the brand "Une olive en Provence." In their shop in Maussane-les-Alpilles, Annabel and Jean-Baptiste Quenin (the son of the miller in the Alpilles) offer a whole range of cosmetic products based on olive oil from Provence: soaps, shower gels, body and facial care. Their expertise has seduced the spa of the luxury hotel Baumanière in Baux-de-Provence, which offers care rituals with a Provençal twist alongside their products.
Une olive en Provence (External link)
Hôtel Baumanière in Baux-de-Provence (External link)
A palette of treats
Provençal olive oil perfumes some sweet treats with its inimitable taste:
• Gibassié in Aix-en-Provence
Flour, sugar, olive oil, orange and lemon zest: these are the ingredients for gibassié, a specialty from Aix that is none other than the pompe à huile (oil olive brioche) (without yeast), one of the 13 desserts of the great Provençal Christmas dinner. Pierre Piantino, an artisan renowned for this recipe, sells it on the market every Thursday and Saturday morning at Place Richelme, in Aix-en-Provence.
• Chocolate in Marseille
In Marseille, artisan-chocolatier Francesco Martorana has developed a confectionery made with 70% dark chocolate, sweet almonds, candied oranges and extra virgin olive oil: Espérantine (External link) . This sweet treats shaped as olive leaves can be found in his two shops in the town center.
• Baba in Gémenos
At the gastronomic restaurant La Magdeleine (External link) , in Gémenos, Chef Mathias Dandine is offering a citrus baba this winter, accompanied by ice cream and an emulsified sauce with an olive oil full of character.
• Citrolive pastries
Find this successful blend in the citrolives produced by the Domaine du Jasson (External link) , in La Londe-Les-Maures, where olives and citrus fruits are pressed together. This is the fragrant oil that Pastry Chef Clément Higgins loves to use to make an astonishing creamy lemon, offered in his two Les Bricoleurs de douceurs (External link) shops in Marseille.
• Olive Gin in Avignon
Finally, in Avignon, Maison Manguin (External link) also bottles the olive. The distillery has been manufacturing gin, brandies and an olive aperitif since 2014. Raise a glass to them—a glass of olive oil, of course!
Find out more:
Getting to Provence