Ardèche olive oil
Olive oil, a tradition in the Ardèche
Less well known than chestnuts, cheeses and other specialities of the Ardèche, olive oil has nevertheless been part of the daily life of the Ardèche people for hundreds of years. The history of the olive tree begins well before the first Mediterranean civilisations. Wild olives have been consumed since the Neolithic period. Olive growing appeared with the invention of agriculture, around 8000 years ago. The green gold is used for cosmetics, food preservation and oil lamps.
Initially present in the Near East, its trade spread throughout the Mediterranean basin with the Phoenicians, the Greeks and then the Romans, who introduced the benefits of olive oil throughout Europe. The olive tree then became an emblem of the various Mediterranean civilisations.
In France, the olive tree is cultivated in the south-eastern Mediterranean, including the southern Ardèche. Many estates and mills welcome tourists who are curious to learn more about this oil that works miracles on our bodies.
Where to taste olive oil in Ardèche?
Several estates and mills invite holidaymakers to come and taste their Ardèche olive oil. The Gorges mill located at the Gorges roundabout in Vallon-Pont-d’Arc sells oil and also offers tours of the mill with tasting. The Pontet-Fronzèle estate and mill in Lagorce also offers tours. In addition to olive oil, several varieties of olives and olive confit are sold. At the Domaine du Beauregard in Saint-Remèze there are olive oil tastings. At the Lou Mouli d’Oli mill in Bourg-Saint-Andéol, you will find a beautiful shop offering tastings and sales of local products, including olive oil soaps.
All the mills and estates producing olive oil in the Ardèche offer their products for sale, an opportunity to bring back a local, quality product as a souvenir of your holiday in the Ardèche. We also use it in the dishes of our restaurant in Ardèche !
Oil tourism in the Ardèche
Oleotourism is tourism linked to olive oil. This type of tourism is developing more and more in the Ardèche. Olive oil is not only on the plates of the Ardèche, it is also part of the local heritage. This is what you can find out at the Maison de l’Olivier in Les Vans, where various information on the production of olive oil and its history in the region are explained. You will learn more about extra virgin olive oil, organic olive oil, the harvesting of olives from olive trees, the mechanical and manual extraction processes, vegetable oils and AOC or AOP oil products from organic farming.
You may also have the opportunity to attend the Fête de l’Olivier in Les Vans at the end of July where parades, tastings and visits to the mill are organised. Also in Les Vans, the “Fête de l’huile nouvelle” is held every year in July, a real tribute to the olive tree organised by the association Les Amis de l’olivier du pays des Vans. In addition to tastings, meals and parades, a fair is held. Only half an hour’s drive from the camping Les Ranchisses in Chassiers, it’s well worth attending during your stay in the Ardèche gîte.