Languedoc Extra Virgin Olive Oil Receives PDO Certification

Made from the local Lucques and Olivière varieties, Languedoc becomes France’s ninth extra virgin olive oil to receive Protected Designation of Origin status.
Cevennes, France
By Costas Vasilopoulos
Nov. 20, 2023 18:21 UTC

Languedoc extra vir­gin olive oil from France has received a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the European Commission.

The French olive oil was added to the European Union’s geo­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tions (GI) reg­is­ter for food prod­ucts under Huile d’olive du Languedoc on October 31st, after the appli­ca­tion was sub­mit­ted to the Commission in December 2020.

The com­mis­sion spec­i­fied that Languedoc is a mul­ti­va­ri­etal olive oil chiefly pro­duced from olives of the Lucques and Olivière vari­eties or a blend of the two with other tra­di­tional local olive vari­eties. Each main vari­ety must account for no more than 70 per­cent of the oil.

See Also:Europe Strengthens Rules to Protect PDO and PGI Products

Languedoc olive oil is now offi­cially rec­og­nized as a pro­tected des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin (PDO),” a press release by the French National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO) said. This recog­ni­tion val­ues the prac­tices devel­oped over time by local olive grow­ers.”

“[The oil] is char­ac­ter­ized by aro­mas of tomato and almond, some­times accom­pa­nied by notes of apple, both olfac­tory and gus­ta­tory mod­er­ate bit­ter­ness and acid­ity on the palate,” the press release also stated.

Languedoc extra vir­gin olive oil is pro­duced in the Aude and Hérault geo­graph­i­cal depart­ments in the coastal region of Languedoc in south­ern France, which stretches from Provence to the Pyrenees Mountains on the country’s bor­der with Spain.

The PDO label cer­ti­fies that the spe­cific organolep­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics of Languedoc extra vir­gin olive oil are due to the geo­graph­i­cal loca­tion and local know-how in olive oil pro­duc­tion. It also com­mu­ni­cates the qual­ity of the oil to European con­sumers.

Conversely, for a bot­tle of olive oil to be rec­og­nized as Languedoc PDO, it must com­ply with strict spec­i­fi­ca­tions relat­ing to the grow­ing and pro­cess­ing of olives and the bot­tling of olive oil.

It took 13 years to get there,” said Jean-Bernard Gieules, the head of the Lucques and Languedoc olive oil union. This is a real recog­ni­tion that began with the AOC [Appellation d’origine con­trôlée] in 2020. And it com­pleted the rep­u­ta­tion [of the oil].”

Languedoc boasts a cen­turies-old tra­di­tion in olive grow­ing, with his­tor­i­cal records show­ing that the local econ­omy was pri­mar­ily olive-based from the mid-10th cen­tury. By 1950, the area boasted a total of 150 olive oil mills.

However, the his­toric frost of 1956, when tem­per­a­tures plunged from 21 ºC dur­ing the day to –17 ºC at night, wiped out the olive groves through­out the region, dev­as­tat­ing the local olive oil indus­try, which started to flour­ish again in the 1980s.

More than 100 olive farm­ers now grow olive trees of Lucques and Olivière vari­eties on 192 hectares.

The offi­cial recog­ni­tion of Languedoc olive oil by the European Commission raises the num­ber of French olive oils pro­tected across the E.U. with a des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin sta­tus to nine.


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