Friday, November 28, 2014

Highlights of the Midi: Olives

Olives growing in the Languedoc
Among the most beautiful sights in the countryside surrounding the Canal du Midi are the groves of olive trees with their silvery-green leaves and twisted trunks. The Languedoc region's dry, hot, summers and mild winters provide the ideal climate for olives, and they have been cultivated here for centuries.

Many varieties of olives are grown in the Languedoc, for both general consumption and pressing into the wonderful golden oil that is so highly valued in the kitchen. There are always one or more vendors at the local markets with mounds of locally-grown olives of every sort: green, black, oil cured, Picholines, Lucques, Négrettes, Noirettes, and more.

Cooperative Oleicole L'OuliboA Visit to the Olive Mill

If you love olives, you won't want to miss a visit to the Coopérative Oléicole L'Oulibo, near the village of Bize-Minervois. L'Oulibo is a growers' cooperative where olives from across the region are brought to be pressed into oil.

L'Oulibo offers guided tours that include a 20 minute film, The "Odyssey Olivier", a chance to see the oil press operation, and stroll through their olive grove, where display panels feature a history of the olive tree. The highlight of your visit will be L'Oulibo's shop, where you can sample all of the many varieties of olives and oil, and pick up a few bottles to take home. The shop also offers a wide range of regionally produced products — soaps, corkscrews and pepper mills made from olive wood, colorful hand-knit scarfs and socks — all perfect for gifts, or to keep yourself as a souvenir of your fabulous cruise week.

Learn more about visiting to Coopérative Oléicole L'Oulibo during your stay on Barge Tango.