October 26, 2011

O is for Olive

For ABC Wednesday, where the week’s letter is O, I am taking you to a small medieval town in Provence, France. (I’d rather have posted something O about my recent trip in Guangdong, but my creative juices couldn't take me there.)

Prior to making my way to Asia in May 1985, I spent about half a year with my parents in their tiny apartment in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue; it was a mini-chapter between major chapters of my life. I had turned my back on a career in law and was experiencing a bad (and recurring) case of the what-do-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up blues. In hindsight, living among charms provençal was a terrific space to sort out the color of my parachute. (I now only wish I'd had a camera then.)

Flash forward twenty years, long after my parents had moved to a larger nearby city (and my father was no more), I returned for a quick visit... with my early model digital point-n-shoot. There's much I could say about Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, including that this 13th Century town sits among seven tributaries of the river named Sorgue and has a few lovely waterwheels... but I must get on to the letter O

Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, 2005

Among the attractions to the town is its Sunday market.  Along the river in temporary covered stalls an immense range of local and not-so-local products - fresh, cooked, processed and manufactured - are for sale. 


It is here one fine Sunday that I found one of my favorite foods: olives. From the unripe green French picholine to the ripe black Greek kalamata, there are thousands of cultivars.


Olives are cured/marinated and packed a gazillion delicious ways - such as with herbs, garlic or salt-brine - and I pretty much like them all (except the flat tasteless canned ones). 


Just thinking about spiced olives in Moroccan cuisine or an olive tapenade appetizer and I begin to salivate! And of course no other oils but olive oil go in my salads. In Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the selection is almost overwhelming.

29 comments:

Tina´s PicStory said...

great shots :)

Ms. Burrito said...

We love black olives.


Please come and take a look at my O entry, have a good day!

Nanka said...

The water wheel must surely be moving like a big 'O'!! We do find olives and olive oil all imported here in a few select places, though not much of variety!!

Roger Owen Green said...

what a charming locale!

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Dina said...

Olives are so photogenic.
Nice to learn about your history a bit.

FM said...

Wonderful shots!

Hope you'd find time to visit my entries here and here.

photowannabe said...

Well you definitely made me salivate over your pictures and the thought of savory olives.
I could eat them until I almost get sick.
Yumm I wish I had some now.

cieldequimper said...

Ah, so you went to the Lubéron... I would give my soul for good olives, black and green... And olive oil. And olive oil soap...

Pat Tillett said...

Very nice pics from what looks to be a great place. You know what I want right now? Olives!!!

Roy Schulze said...

I used to hate olives, but now I love them and wouldn't be able to cook without their oil. One of the benefits of growing up, I suppose. My ABC Wednesday is O is for Oracle.

Kathy said...

I can so relate. My first word was not Mommie, not Daddy, but "ollie." I still love olives.

Vicki/Jake said...

Oh, the drool all over my keyboard is obnoxious:) I love olives also and use olive oil when I cook. But sadly, I've only had the tasteless in the can, or bottle, kind so I can't compare. But I'll take your word on what I'm missing. *sigh*. And I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.....

T. Becque said...

I've heard of this town and would love to visit it someday. Charming pictures.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Super post! Loved reading the snippet of your "history" and I'm drooling over just seeing those wonderful olives. (Beats our supermarket olive bar all to heck -- but then that is is a lot better than the canned ones -- you take what you can get ;>)

Andrea said...

Oh you released some info about yourself there! So hello Atty. Francisca. As you may already know, not many Filipinos like olives because we don't have it, expensive, or we're not used to it. But i love it and get it first when conditions allow.

chubskulit said...

My son loves black olives, it's his favorite snack!

Learn some Filipino custom and words with my O entry. Come and see.

Mar said...

I simply love those markets! beautiful shots for O.

O is for..

VioletSky said...

Am not a fan of olives... but then maybe I should visit here and try these ones.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

There you are. I have been wondering what has been going on. Forgot about the Great Firewall. L'isle sur la Sorgue is a great town for antiques and vintage stuff. These photos make me want to return. Olives, cheese, whatever. Know what you mean about your mind not letting you do what you wish. Hugs.

Shooting Parrots said...

So many olives, so little time!

Gel said...

super shots
enjoyed traveling vicariously
I LOVE olives
Happy ABC Wed.

Kay L. Davies said...

I couldn't help noticing (and Nanka mentioned it first) the O-shaped mill wheel.
When my husband buys a frozen pizza and it has olives on it, he painstakingly picks them off and gives them to me, no matter what I'm eating. He once did it when he was having pizza and I was having ice cream.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Gattina said...

That looks so typcial "south" could even be in Italy !
Gattina
ABC Team

jennyfreckles said...

Catching up.. I did enjoy this post. Olives en masse like that look so wonderful as well as the promise of their taste. I always find it near impossible to choose which to buy.

EG Wow said...

I think if I ever go to France I would have to visit Provence. Beautiful...and I love olives too. :)

Lowell said...

What a glorious place! That first photo could (should?) be a painting...I like olives, but have never had an opportunity to try anything but those from a can or a jar. One more thing missing from my life!

tapirgal said...

Hmm. Seems that my comment didn't post. Anyway, I love these images and would like to have seen the olives!

Jo Bryant said...

what a wonderful series of shot - great post

JM said...

I can't control myself when good looking olives like those are in front of me... :-))) I just love them!