La Tête dans les Olives

La Tête dans Les Olives (meaning head in the olives) is a tiny wooden store in the 10th arrondissement. Here, as the name suggests, you will find all the olive oils in flasks and dark glass bottles brought from Western Sicily by Cédric Casanova. There, Casanova works with local olive growers to produce more than a dozen superb oils, all unique in flavor and strength. 

I heard of this tiny joint from my internship as my restaurant uses bottles and bottles of his oils a day. Luckily I ran into the owner before he left and coincidentally was going to see my employer that same afternoon. 

It all started with the olive oil he enjoyed with his family while traveling in Italy. He enjoyed it so much, he would bring liters of it back to France to last the whole year. As he got older, he changed careers and ended up going back to Sicily to pick up 100 kilos of olive oil to Paris, which he sold within just 4 days. From this immediate success, he decided to create his business that is La Tête dans Les Olives. 

If you want to learn about olives, Casanova is the man to talk to. His staff was just as knowledgeable as he was and it’s scary how much I did not know about olives and how interesting the process and importance of making oil was. Now, growing olive trees and taking oil from it seemed like risky business. But he himself knew that and told the olive oil producers that they don’t know what they represent to the outside world. Luckily enough he knew Sicilian and French palates and recognized a significant product that carried strong values with it that people would be interested in. Casanova travels to Sicily once a week every month where he also plays a part in the harvesting (something he has done for the last 7 years. Only through experience and experimentation will he expand his technical knowledge. 

Casanova loves educating his customers about his product. When you enter this small store of 14 square meters (yes, it’s that tiny), you will be invited to enter the degustation process of the oils and some typical Sicilian delicacies.

Sun-dried tomatoes. Usually they tend to have very similar tastes but this… I have never tasted before. They were very strong, spicy and sweet at the same time…It was concentrated…I felt like I could taste the sun

The olives: On the right, they were nocellara – sweet, and a more natural olive taste. On the left, also nocellara but much stronger and bitter as they were not softened in their processing. 

Bresaola de thon (Tuna bresaola)

Now I’ve had bresaola of meat – which is air-dried salted beef which has been aged 2-3 months until it gains a dark red color. It surprisingly tasted almost like cheese.

Formaggio primo salle (literally 1st salted cheese; and from the Coletti family), Oeufs bottarga de thon (dried tuna egg – to die for) and Tuna saucisson was also tasted and again I have never tasted these ingredients before. The cheese I tried is sold and taken out of the process that later makes pecorino and ricotta. I’m not a fan of cheese but it was very good. 

What blew me away was the wild oregano. It grows in the Sicilian mountains spontaneously which explains its high price and the little quantities that can be extracted. They are sold in bouquets. Very fresh and tasteful, even spicy in taste.

The degustation of the olive oils is just as good as wine tasting, so unique in its experience.I was part of this unique experience, where I tasted about a dozen different oils from the same vineyards but different in texture, strength, color and taste. 

There exists 3 kinds of olives.

La biancolilla also known as gaetana rizza grows its leaves in the first days of may. The color of a ripe olive is reddish. The flavor is very light to the palate, very soft in taste and holds a fruity and discreet aroma. It serves best with fish.

La cerasuola is more vigorous and resistant to dryness. The tree grows its leaves in the second half of may. The pulp of the olive is more rounded, salted and dry. It also has a fruit aroma, but is much stronger in taste and leaves a sensation of spicyness in your throat like a peppered artichoke. 

La nocellara del belice is the strongest and heaviest, weighing about 5 to 7 grams. The pulp is more firm and once its matured, the olive’s color goes as close to dark red and black. It is not sour in taste but is more intense, green in color and spicy. 

Tasting from these steel pots. You can bring your own glass bottle to refill (which is also much cheaper).

You can also buy 500ml bottles. Each glass bottle have the symbol of the green olive and are each marked in white with a code name referring to the respective name of the vineyard. 


At the end, you may purchase some oils and delicacies, but this does not come at a small price since quantity is still quite limited. But I must say, it’s very worth it. 

The shop can also be turned into a restaurant for lunch and private dinners for five (with a fixed menu of 30 euros) where you will try the different oils, bresaola of tuna, Italian cheeses and tomatoes, among other natural and fresh ingredients that he brought all the way from Sicily. You will have to call in advance to book. I spoke with him and he said he’s full until July, and they’re closed in August!

La Tête dans les Olives
2 Rue Sainte-Marthe, 75010
Tel: 09 51 31 33 34; Website: http://www.latetedanslesolives.com/ 

Metro: Goncourt (Ligne 11)
Open: Tue-Fri 2pm-7pm; Sat 11am-6pm
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Comments
One Response to “La Tête dans les Olives”
  1. I love this place too and I bought some of the Bresaola de Thon home with me- can’t wait to whip something creative up with this! Any ideas on what/how to serve it? Pablo suggested olive oil and Fennel seeds or fresh mint and olive oil. Cheers, Rachel

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