PICHOLINE – TABLE AND OIL VARIETY
Picholine is the most widely spread oil cultivar of France.
Despite being used even for olive oil production,Picholine is most notable for its use as a cocktail olive. Though originally from Gard in southern France, it is today more popular in Provence and in other parts of France and Italy, and it is also grown in Morocco, Israel, Chile, the United States and other places around the world.
The Picholine has many different names of local varieties. In Gard and southern France it is referred to as Coiasse, Plant de Collias, Fausse Lucques or Lucques Batarde. In Tunisia is it called Judoleine, while in other countries it is often named Picholine de Languedoc after its historic region of origin (Gard is part of Languedoc).
This tree is medium-sized, its foliage quite dense, spreading and erect, but it looks shorter when full of fruits. It is quite a vigorous tree, with an open habit. Rooting ability is medium. Inflorescences have a medium length and number of flowers.
The fruit is harvested in October and November, while still green, for use as table olives. For the purpose of producing oil, the olives are picked later, once they have turned black. The exact time of harvest for oil is a matter of judgement for the individual farmer; an early harvest gives a fruity taste, while a later harvest brings out more sweetness.
Being its pulp easily removable from the stone, the Picholine is most notable for its use as a cocktail olive. For this purpose they are lye cured, then fermented in brine for up to a year, giving them a slightly salty taste. It is also used for extraction of high-quality oil, but gives only a medium yield. Normally 19-21% can be extracted, but plants under irrigation sometimes produce as little as 15–18%. The taste of the oil is fruity with a hint of bitter and spicy.