Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Olives

There are lots of olive trees here -some of them are very ancient , with gnarled and twisted trunks looking like Halloween Hags.

This one probably isn't too old but i had walked past it thousands of times without noticing it as it was hidden behind buddleia , hedges and the ubiquitous palm trees.

Antibes used to export a great deal of olive oil and olive based products but not any longer; though there are still artisanal olive oils , olive pastes and pickled olives and oil based toiletries to be found in the local shops and market.






Olives have a long history of use in the mediterranean - as well as being used as food and a source of cooking and lighting oil, the olive branch or leaf crown has been both a symbol of peace , wisdom and victory from ancient times.

Olive trees were sacred to the Goddess Athena who was said to have created the tree from her spear during a squabble with the God Poseidon.


When olives are picked for making oil they need to be crushed immediately to prevent the fruits from fermenting.
When we first came here i used very little olive oil in cooking, now we go through litres and litres of it! It also amazed me to discover that olive oils can taste so different from each other depending on where they were grown, the age and variety of the tree and type of soil and microclimate - similar to the differences found in grapes grown for wine.




5 comments:

andrea said...

I am a fan of the scared olive, having lived in Greece. I wish I lived in olive grove country now, with winter not too far away...

andrea said...

oops -- SACRED olive (note to self: learn to type)

Yoianda said...

Very interesting post. I hope to see a real olive tree someday.

Yolanda said...

Woops typo on my own name hehe I need to slow down this morning

GeekBrit said...

You live in Antibes? Awesome - I visited that town when I was presenting a training course at NEC a few years back.

Walking along the town wall at sunset looking out across the harbour, past the old fort at the harbour entrance to the ghostlike alps hanging in the air on the horizon, I just wished I was there with my girlfriend rather than the other training instructor!

Oh well... one day :)