Considered the gastronomic olive par excellence, the Lucques du Languedoc olive is one of the best olives available. Easily recognized by its crescent moon shape and its bright green skin, it is a large, meaty, mellow olive.
One of the highest quality and most sought-after of all olives, it is also called “the green diamond,” or “the pearls of Languedoc”. It is often the star of the apéritif. The taste is reminiscent of buttery avocado, hazelnut or even almonds. In terms of saltiness, the olive is about average.
Historians believe the olive may have origins in either Italy or Spain, but today the olive is highly acclimated to the south of France, and is only found in the départements of Hérault and Aude in Languedoc-Roussillon (near the Mediterranean sea), where it has been produced for centuries.
The olive is very delicate and, as a result, can only be picked by hand before they reach maturity. A good olive picker can harvest 80 to 100 kg per day and each tree will have between 15 to 50 kg of olives. Harvest takes place in autumn between mid-September and mid-October. The olives are then routed to a cooperative the same day of harvest to be sorted, graded and then prepared.
A large percentage of these olives are eaten as table olives, but a small number are left on the tree, allowing to turn purple and black as they reach full maturity and are then harvested in late fall and early winter. These are used to make Lucques olive oil, a difficult process that only produces about 2000 liters of delicate, fragrant olive oil that is described as similar to tomato, and is highly also sought-after with a sweet taste.