17 000 years of history
The Périgord is most probably one of the cradles of the walnut. Indeed, we found the walnut from the Périgord region 17 000 years ago in the lives of the Cro Magnon Man and during the Azulian period in a deposit in Peyrat, close to Terrasson.
Its value was really important; farmers paid already, in the 10 th Century, their debts in pounds of walnuts. In the Périgord region, in the 13th century, leases were paid thanks to walnut oil to the Cistercians of Dalon. Walnut oil was considered as precious as gold.
It is for this reason that first, walnut oil made it possible to enrich the region. Its use was multiple. We could light humble houses or majestic cathedrals. Young men and girls used it as a soft soap
In 1730, three-quarters of the farmers only used walnut oil for cooking. “The walnut oil is like a warm water bouillon in the soup” as we said during this period.
Since, walnut oil has a really good reputation as having health and gastronomic properties, well known restaurants use it in their menus.
From the 17 th Century, the trade of walnut oil increased, via Bordeaux, to Holland, Great Britain and Germany.
Even if the walnut tree was developped all around France, the South-West is the region that used it to trade. Very cold periods in 1830 damaged the walnut orchards. As a consequence, trade was diversified, Sarlat was specialised in unripe walnuts thanks to the Grangjean variety.
Sales were exported to England, the United States. In 1950, the Noix du Périgord sector created, on modern basis, new orchards thanks to traditional varieties. The Franquette was introduced in the production basin.
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