Olive oil products
The olive oil production processes haven't changed much for thousands of years...
Olive oil is still obtained today using ancient mechanical processes. Production starts by crushing or pressing the olive fruit into a paste. This is then churned in a process known as malaxation, which allows small oil droplets to aggregate. The oil is considered cold pressed if it is extracted at under 30°C. From the resulting matter, the olive oil is separated using a press or centrifuge before being decanted and filtered. Four to five kilos of olives are required to produce one litre of oil.
Olive oils from Provence are the result of at least two varieties of olives. This stems from the meticulous requirements the oils need to meet to obtain the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée label, known as the AOC, which guarantees an oil’s varieties, quality, production methods, and origin.
In order to guarantee a quality oil, harvested olives need to be delivered to the mill on the day they were harvested to prevent premature fermentation. Fermentation is a very important factor that determines how fruity the olive oil will be. It takes experience, knowledge, and careful analysis of the oil’s acidity to master this art. To achieve the AOC label, olives must made into within 3 days of the harvest. Then, the oil needs to mature for at least 8 months before it can used and sold. The main olive variety present in Haute-Provence is the Aglandau, which makes up 90% of the region’s olives and is valued for its fruity taste. Its harvest usually occurs before the first frosts between November and December, but of course, production can vary with the weather.
Our chosen producer is Henry Paschetta. Why? Quality and tradition are of the utmost importance to him and his family. The Paschettas have been making olive oil in their family-run mill since 1922. Today, they still use the same approaches of sustainable farming and traditional methods to harvest the olives and make the oil. They produce not only their own oil, using their olives, but also make oils for other local farmers in Haute-Provence. All the harvesting is done manually using traditional combs to preserve the quality of the fruit. They never use additives or alter the temperature throughout the process of making the oil.
The Paschettas also farm their own basil and mint plants. In order to make their basil- and mint-flavoured extra virgin olive oils, they first obtain natural mint and basil extracts from their plants using a centrifuge. They then add these extracts to their olive oils, which gives them more intense and delicious flavours than merely infusing the plants in the oil.
We feel privileged and proud to work with them because they only produce limited amounts of oil each year and plan to keep it that way, so that they can still produce oil the same way their ancestors did. This makes our partnership with them a very special one.
To find out more about each of our producers, simply select that producer's photo from the slideshow below.