TO DO | SHOPPING
The mythical olive tree is a true symbol of the Mediterranean countries surrounding Le Grand Bleu. Although Greece, Italy and Spain are the main olive producers, you will also find oléiculteurs (olive growers) in the South of France. I love the Languedoc variety called Lucques. The shiny bright green olives are very recognisable. L’Oulibo in Bize-Minervois happens to be the biggest Lucques producer in Languedoc. Time for a visit!
L’Oulibo, olive in Occitan, is the only olive Coopérative oléocole in the Aude department. That’s right, a co-operation just for olives instead of wine. There is a lot to learn about the eternal olive tree and its wonderful fruit. L’oulibo is a good place to visit, especially when doing the guided tour called “l’Odyssée”. You can also visit the educational olive grove by yourself, as the signs will explain a lot. However, being guided by a local who knows all the ins and outs is far more interesting.
Secrets of the olive tree
For example, did you know that an olive tree never dies? The tree can burn down, but the root and underground parts of the tree can sprout endlessly again and again. Some olive groves have been planted by the ancient Greeks and still flourish! There are many olive varieties. However, there is no such thing as a “green” or a “black” olive tree. All trees first produce green olives, and once the fruits ripened, they turn from violet into black. And apparently using olive oil is perfect to replace your expensive anti-ageing cream. Made out of 100 % pure juice without any additives or conservatives. Haven’t tried it yet…
The French love their light and sound shows, here also you will get a modest version of it. A 20-minute movie (available in multiple languages) explains more about how to produce olive oil, meanwhile pointing out the equipment in real life. Fascinating to see that L’Oubilo still uses its old millstones to press a part of their olive oil. A technique that is being used for over thousands of years!
L’Oulibo is a co-operation that really loves its product. You can tell by their passion! The degustation lets you taste the difference between a few olive varieties and olive oils. I have never tasted pure olive oil; it gives a completely different sensation then savouring it with a piece of bread. But that’s something you have to go and try for yourself.