The French do not produce sufficient oils even for their own needs and so they tend to keep it to themselves and little is exported. The oils are usually fine and lightly fruity without much bitterness or pepper, though there are exceptions. Apples, pears and tomatoes are the predominant flavours with some freshly mown grass and herbs. The main producing regions are Provence, the Vallée des Baux and Languedoc-Roussillon.
In the Vallèe des Baux there is a tradition of leaving the olives to stand for a day or two before they are pressed. During this time an anaerobicfermentation is set up in the centre of the pile of olives. When the olives are pressed the fermented olives give a specific flavour to the oil which is known as “olive noir”. In fact, this would be considered a fault (known as fusty) under a strict application of the tasting test for olive oil and some more modern producers in the region are making oil with out this taste