Most of Australia’s olives are grown in the east, south and west of the country, with the state of Victoria producing the majority of extra virgin olive oil, followed by Western Australia and South Australia.
Most of the world’s major olive varieties are grown throughout our wide brown land. I recently visited Olives of Beaulieu in northern New South Wales, near Inverell on the Northern Tablelands. A family-owned olive grove, it has cellar door sales of olive products and estate manufactured spices.
The plateau at Beaulieu (Australian pronunciation: Bolee-o), French for “beautiful place” has well-draining red soils and a micro-climate which grows all stone fruits, cherries, almonds, walnuts and other nuts and also citrus fruits.
I had never explored the hot, dry region before, and it is a fabulous foodie trail of produce and wines. Tracey says Olives of Beaulieu also pairs olives and spices with local wine tasting.
The olives from the grove are transported in half tonne bins to a crushing plant, and are crushed within 24 hours. The oil is classified extra virgin. The oil entered in 2004 in the Australian Olive Oil Awards won a silver medal in its class.
Ever wondered why olive oil bottles are made in dark glass, or are imported in large tins? After pressing, sunlight becomes the oil’s enemy, and the tinted glass protects the quality of the product, says Les.
The Australian Olive Association says that following lower than anticipated olive oil yields in 2010, conditions this season means that Australia is on track for a bumper year with 17 million litres of extra virgin olive oil to be produced is predicted for 2011. Harvesting started at the beginning of April and will continue through to July.
Along with sales of Olives of Beaulieu extra virgin olive oils are the Gwydir Grove infused olive oils and table olives. Also for sale are olive oil cosmetics and soaps, manufactured locally, by other olive-growing families.
The company also manufactures exotic spices: dukkah, (Eygptian), zatar, (Lebanese) harissa, (Tunisian) squisito, (Italian), my thai (Thai) and hurry curry (Indian).
The Gwydir Grove oils and table olives are available retail in Australia, but if you want to sample the full range of everything in one spot, then chalk it up for your next trip north.
439 Copeton Dam Road
Beaulieu via Inverell NSW 2360, Call 0267 221 458