Around our villa in Beaulieu-sur-Mer there are eighteen olive trees which have been there for hundreds of years. Fishing and olive culture were the only occupations in Beaulieu before the arrival of the railway in 1868. Linda has learned much about harvesting the olives and preparing them for the mill from our 95-year-old neighbor Amédé Cecconi. Each year we invite friends to help us clean the stems, leaves and bad olives from the bins. I prepare lunch for them. Our harvest was smaller and two weeks earlier this year due to the dry weather.

The group came on October 8. The day before I fired up our grill and sprinkled smoked hickory chips on the glowing charcoal. Then I charred a dozen red and yellow sweet peppers with the top on the grill so they would soak up the hickory flavor. After they cooled I removed the skins and seeds. They were served sprinkled with parsley and basil alongside a bowl of good anchovies in olive oil.

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After the peppers came off the grill, I put on slices of eggplant and zucchini. These were nicely charred. I reheated them in the oven before putting them in the buffet.
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The morning of October 8 the group gathered around the bins where the olives had been drying since they were knocked off the trees into netting the week before. They picked out leaves, stems, rotted olives or anything which should not go to the mill.

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Meanwhile I went out to our kitchen garden and picked a big lot of green beans. I boiled them quickly and sautéed them, then added some sesame oil, sesame seeds and almonds, topped the bowl with mint from our garden and put it on the buffet.

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When in the kitchen garden, I picked three heads of lettuce to make a salad dressed in our own olive oil from last year. This was served with cheese to end the meal.

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The tables were set on our terrace.

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The pork filet and chicken thighs had been marinating in barbecue sauce and went on the grill.

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The wine was opened and set out.

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Just before the olive workers finished I took the pork and chicken off the grill and put them in the oven with the zucchini and eggplant slices. Then I stoked up the coals and put on the sausages and lamb slices, which were served hot off the grill.

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Everyone took a plateful; most went back for more and then went on to the cheese and salad.

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After coffee another harvest lunch was over. The next step was cleanup. Soon the olives became our 2007 oil after crushing at the Alziari mill in Nice.nf.jpg

2 Responses to “Preparing the 2007 Olive Harvest Lunch”

  1. Lora and Jeff Says:

    This was wonderful to read! Your garden is very productive! I’m definitely going to try our eggplant and zucchini on the grill. It looks delicious!

  2. Mary Leinsdorf Says:

    Damn Nation but I wish I were there gobbling up your scrumptious fare!!!!!! Loved the story of the pressing of the olives as well.


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