The Rolls Royce of Olives . . .
When we heard that the Lucques, a rare variety of olives, is called the Rolls Royce of table olives, we felt driven to say that we had eaten one of those.
We didn't have any trouble spotting this posh, bright green olive with its odd crescent shape. Grown only in the Hérault Department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the south of France, you can find it easily enough in local markets and gourmet shops. Because of its odd shape it's sold unpitted, which only enhances its smooth hazlenut flavor. The Lucques olives primeurs or olives nouvelles are at their very best when first made ready to eat, without preservatives.
Mild and crunchy, the Lucques is handpicked green from mid-August through October as a table olive. But when left to ripen until black, it's harvested in November with wooden combs and nets, then sent to the mill to be pressed into a golden and mellow oil, one that according to ancient folklore, contains a "drop of eternity."
©2009P.B.Lecron; photo by P.B.Lecron