The Languedoc is the olive capital of France and there an impressive variety: lucques, picholine (best known as a cocktail olive), verdale de l’Hérault , bouteillan, negrette, rougette and aglandau are some of the names you will come across. In Greek and Roman times the coastal colonies of Languedoc produced olives, wine and salt but nowadays you can find them grown in the Uzège, the extensive scrubby woodlands which extend north of Uzès.
Nîmes now has an Olive AOC - the famous French stamp of quality relating to a particular geography that dictates the types of olive employed, the degree of acidity, and so on. Nîmes also hosts annually its "Journées Méditéranéennes de l'Olivier" - the largest olive oil market in France. This is held in April on the main square (Esplanade Charles-de Gaulle) with conferences and about 60 professional participants.
Olive tapenade is one of the specialities of the region in the Languedoc and is made from an olive paste, mixed with garlic and anchovies. It is delicious on bread as part of a starter, or as an aperitif to go with Kir, Pastis, or a lightly chilled Rosé from the region or a beautiful glass of smooth Languedoc red.
2 cloves of garlic
20 olives (either green or black)
3 fillets of anchovies in olive oil
Mix or crush the garlic with the anchovies in a mortar with their oil, and then add the olives without the stones and crush to a fine pulp.