Cécile Le Galliard – Jus d’Olive

"I think that tasting is a true parameter of quality because it provides help and assistance to every actor in the chain: consumer, producer and bottler."

Her story and connection with the Olive sector

It was in Spain that I discovered olive oil. I went to work there at the end of my degree course: I hadn’t any plans to work in the agricultural or olive oil sectors. In Spain, particularly through its gastronomy, there is a real olive ‘cult’ that you don’t necessarily see in France.

Back in France, despite the lack of information and promotion of the sector, I wanted to work in the import-export of olive oils.

At that time, I was fortunate to be in touch with someone who became very important for me (she was in charge of communication at the International Olive Oil Council (IOC)).

I had told her that I was interested in taking the Montpellier training course leading to a qualification in oleology, but due to lack of registrations, the course was abandoned for the year.

She nevertheless advised me to apply for a grant from the IOC and thus benefit from a course in Spain.

I was accepted in 2014 and I returned to Spain to follow a course entirely dedicated to the tasting of virgin olive oils and thus a profile equivalent to people working in laboratories.

However, back in France, after 6 months, things didn’t turn out as I had anticipated! While I was still studying, I was put in touch with buyers and managers of French olive oil brands who wanted me to work for them in training, tasting and oil selection.

 

Little by little, a passion for the sector and these beautiful products really took over, making me realise that the fields of training and tasting appealed to me more than that of sales!

Her everyday actions for the Olive oil cause

My year divides into two main periods:

The harvesting part - the period we are currently in.

Between now and March we select the oils, follow the producers during harvesting and in the production of their juices and listen to the advice shared. These are the best moments, and I think they are the most important.

 

The training part - with a wide variety of profiles!

Among our tasters, we have:

-          Professionals and individuals,

-          Curious olive oil enthusiasts who want to discover how to taste olive oil,

-          Producers,

-          People who run groceries and chain stores,

-          Organisations such as trade associations, etc.

Personally, I work for the AOP de Corse which offers tasting training several times a year to all types of audience: as soon as the juices are produced, they taste the oils around a table and designate those that can bear the name of Protected Designation of Origin of Corsica.

 

As the tasting of virgin olive oils is compulsory, many people wish to be trained in this module to understand the whole process: to know what we produce and to know how to interpret at least the analyses we send.

 

In parallel to giving training, I developed the Jus d'Olive website.

As I had an academic background in communication, I wanted to do it myself and since I couldn’t find a similar website, I turned out to be ahead of the game on the subject.

I had always thought it was important to gather all my research. At first I created a very basic Tumblr, and as I collected more and more information, I grew my site. Today, I use it daily to keep up to date with the latest developments, because this sector is constantly evolving.

There are many advances in terms of innovation in agricultural techniques and health. This website is also a precious training medium through which I can share new topics, new methods and new figures in the sector.

I write according to my intuition of the day, depending on the latest news.

Her upcoming projects in the sector

I would like to develop a training course and certification that don’t exist yet in this field.

You can find this type of course in many other sectors such as wine, beer, perfume... But today, olive oil doesn’t yet have a tasting certification. I think it’s essential that we allow everyone to obtain recognition through this qualification.

To date, you only find courses that conclude with a certificate to say you followed them and passed a couple of short exams. But these aren’t real qualifications that you can put on a CV or highlight in a job interview.

I think that tasting is a true parameter of quality because it provides help and assistance to every actor in the chain: consumer, producer and bottler.

Later on, I would also like to develop communication around the olive sector. We are a small, little-known  sector without much recognition. Today, we are trying to get together to set up larger initiatives and do our best to improve them every day.

In short, there are a lot of big and exciting projects ahead!

Further information : https://jusdolive.fr/