Here in Provence as well as at Bastide, there are a number of things that we hold sacred: family, nature and the absolute joy of simplicity. From the closet to the kitchen, we rely only on the essentials to maintain our standard of healthy, authentic living.
One must-have ingredient for life in Provence is almighty olive oil. Since ancient times, olive oil has been a staple throughout France and the Mediterranean. Referred to as “the great healer” by Hippocrates and “liquid gold” by Homer, olive oil can be used both on and in the body to yield incredible health and beauty results.
The rolling hills of the Provence landscape are studded with olive trees. Due to the temperate, sunny climate, olive trees have grown in this region for centuries. Single olive trees can live to be 2,000-years-old. That being said, many olive trees in Aix-en-Provence are 60-years-young since many were planted after the devastating freeze of February, 1956. On this infamous evening, temperatures plunged so low after a mild day, that the sap froze and the ancient trees were destroyed. Still today, many – including us at Bastide – are committed to restoring olive tree saplings back to their natural environment.
Olive trees are not only an integral part to our landscape, but function at the center of our seasonal family traditions.
In the fall, we head out into the orchards to pick olives from our trees. While there are a number of machines that can get the job done for you quick and easy, we prefer harvesting by hand; it’s comfortingly methodical, perfectly old fashioned and completely sustainable.
Picking enough olives to make olive oil is no easy feat – it takes up to 100 pounds of olives just to make one gallon of olive oil. But is it worth it? Absolutely.
Gentle, effective, moisturizing and time-honored, olive oil is a trusted ingredient both in the kitchen, and in our beauty routine. At night, you can remove your makeup with ease by putting a few drops of olive oil on a cotton ball and massaging it over your face. It will leave your eye contour dewy and soft.
Banish chapped-lips (or any patch of dry skin) using an exfoliating concoction of one-part olive oil and two-parts coarse sugar; simply mix the ingredients, rub on the skin and rinse. Don’t be afraid to apply straight olive oil directly to your skin, too. Especially during the cold winter months, put a few drops of olive oil in your hands and apply apply it directly to your skin for unmatched hydration. When in doubt, always remember that a little olive oil goes a long way.
If you don’t feel comfortable using a kitchen ingredient for beauty purposes, you’re not alone! That’s why Bastide’s products are loaded with this liquid gold. Both our solid and liquid soaps are enriched with Provence olive oil to make your skin feel supple and undeniably clean. Our Body Cream, too, features olive oil along with olive squalene. Olive squalene is an organic, vegetable lipid that is compatible with the natural oils on our skin. Because they are so similar, our skin recognizes olive squalene, absorbs it, and leaves your skin more moisturized than ever before. Throughout the winter, when skin is more likely to be dry and itchy, turn to Bastide’s body cream for instant relief and comfort.
So whether you use it to whip up a delicious dinner or to maintain skin, olive oil is proof that nature holds the keys to healthy, authentic living. In Provence, life is about connecting to the land, our family, and ourselves. Olive oil, it turns out, helps us to fulfill that legacy of love and respect every day.