Tuesday found us heading out to the Olive Cooperative Oulibo in Languedoc. Olives abound in this region because the tree requires long, hot and dry summers with warmer winters, and the Languedoc climate is perfect. Even though France does not have as large a market as other European locations, they still provide an amazing variety of olives for the French market.
The cooperative we visited buys and processes the olives from the local farmers – and the variety of types is amazing. I honestly used to think there was black and green. They color actually just depends on when it’s harvested – green is an early harvest, a purplish color when it’s full of the oil, and black last. The variety and processing gives us the wonderful variety of olives (hint: do not even think they’re even remotely like American black olives). This particular area is most famous for a bright green variety called Luques. We had the opportunity to taste their olive oil as well as olives – delicious!
We headed out from there to a goat farm for the opportunity to taste their cheeses and watch the goats being milked! The farm we visited kept about 90 goats, roaming around on a huge open hillside. It was close to milking time so the ladies, of course, had wandered down to the barn…waiting for their turn.
I loved the high ramps they had for bringing the goats in and keeping them in their ‘stalls’ for milking. The reason the goats are all so cooperative is the feed she has ready for them – standard oats but with a slightly sweet treat (what it was got lost in translation).
I was amazed at the variety of cheeses they make, soft cheeses just drained for a varying number of days to hard cheeses, aged in a tightly controlled “cave”. Delicious