We have long understood that one of the real pleasures of cruising on a hotel barge is to experience some wonderful regional produce, and this is why we like to take our guests to see some skilled local artisans at work and, of course, sample their products! If you are cruising with us in the Occitanie region then you will have the chance to join a special excursion to see the production process of the area’s renowned olive oil.
Taste the Delicious Olives of l’Oulibo on a French Barge Cruise
Excursions to l’Oulibo
L’Oulibo is a unique olive cooperative situated close to the banks of the Canal du Midi, which makes it a perfect stop for enthusiasts of artisanal products who join one of our French barge cruises. We love to take our hotel barge passengers out for a short trip through the olive grove to pay a visit to the mill where the Lucques and the Picholine olives that grow at l’Oulibo are being processed.
Part of the harvest is allocated to be sold as table olives or cocktail olives, but between 500 and 800 tonnes of olives are turned into an impressive 75 000 to 120 000 litres of pure olive oil each year! On an excursion to l’Oulibo you can learn all about how they turn the freshly handpicked olives into the olive oils you can find on the supermarket shelves.
You will see how all the leaves are removed from the olives and how they are rinsed before they are crushed under l’Oulibo’s millstone or hammer-mill. You will then watch how the resulting olive paste is kneaded and, consequently, separated into liquid and solid matter in a settling tank. Finally, the mill’s staff will show you how the liquid is put in a juice extractor to obtain the precious olive oil, which is then stocked in vats and ready to go!
Sampling the Delicious Delicacies
Staff at the mill are very friendly and always excited to receive visitors. After an hour-long tour through the premises, guests are invited to sample the olives, olive oils and oil-based products such as tapenade for themselves. This, of course, is often the favourite part of the day for our hotel barge guests…
At European Waterways we have lots of experience in organising excursions like this that take our passengers to those unique places and spaces of France that they can easily access from a French barge cruise.