After a long, hard day at work, what could be better than to sit in the garden and relax with a glass of wine and a bowl of olives? Together, they are the perfect way to unwind.
Yet getting hold of French olives in Britain takes some effort. Although they symbolise the south of France for many people, it is far easier to find Spanish, Italian and even Greek olives here in the UK.
At around just 5,000 tonnes a year, it is fair to say that olive production is much lower in France than in other countries bordering the Mediterranean. Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence are the centre of the French olive industry.
The French olives that tend to be available to eat are those that are picked early, in September, when they are green and firm and not yet fully ripened. They turn purple and then black later into the autumn and winter and those tend to be used for producing olive oils.
Seven types of olive oil from France have been granted European recognition, with the protected designation of origin. They are Aix-en-Provence, Corsica, Haute Provence, Nice, Nîmes, Nyons and Vallée des Baux-de-Provence.
Olive oil is even credited as beneficial to the health. So, my bowl of olives could be considered one of my five a day. Maybe the, erm, grape juice I am enjoying with the olives could be the second of my five day?