The uncontested queen of the table olives, the Black Olive of Nyons was the first French olive to obtain protected designation of origin (PDO) status in 1997, making it for several years the only variety of olive in France or Europe to benefit from this status. Twenty years later, this olive continues to preserve and recognize the authentic savoir-faire of its producers that gives this olive its unique taste.
A gastronomic product par excellence, the Black Olive of Nyons is very well liked by gourmands and foodies, with a taste as delicate as a great vintage of wine. Meaty, fruity, and sweet, this olive is appreciated as an aperitif or in meals, from appetizer to dessert.
The olive is produced in areas surrounding the small town of Nyons in the Drôme and Vaucluse départements of southeastern France, where olive trees are deeply rooted in the local history, having been present for at least 2,000 years. The Black Olive of Nyons, also called the Tanche, is the emblematic product of the Nyons area and is the only type of olive that has perfectly adapted to the particular climate of the region. It is resistant to cold and drought, but is sensitive to wind and humidity which limits its ability to be planted elsewhere, making it the quintessential olive of Nyons that can be produced nowhere else.
Traditionally, the olives are harvest by hand, using ladders to get to the olives placed higher up in the trees. Once they are picked, the olives are sorted, with the smaller olives being used to make olive oil and the larger olives used either as table olives or in tapenades or canned. The olives are also frequently used in various recipes.
Olive-based tourism is now starting to develop in the area, thanks to the celebrity of this particular olive, and local producers have even developed a Nyon Olive Tree Trail for tourists to visit various olive establishments in the region. The PDO status and notoriety of the product, based on knowledge passed down generation to generation, thus brings more money to the region through both increased market value for the agricultural products, and tourism dollars for the entire production area.