French Heritage

ARTISANAL FOOD,  A FRENCH PASSION

Abraham Lincoln had yet to be elected president when Mr. Morillon and Mr. Bechet founded La Tourangelle, a small animal-powered oil mill, in the idyllic French town of Saumur (the castle of Saumur is our logo!).

Originally, all along the Loire river, there was small artisan oil mills that roasted and extracted the oil from nuts gathered by local farmers. La Tourangelle is one of just a handful of these remaining mills that keep this tradition alive. Over the next century and a half, the company refined their production processes and adopted appropriate technologies that honored this artisanal beginning.

In the early 1990’s ownership passed to the Kohlmeyer family and La Tourangelle entered in a renaissance phase that saw its business expand internationally fueled by awards and a passion for promoting specialty oils. In 2002, the second eldest son Matthieu moved to California’s Bay Area to recreate his family’s French artisan oil mill. To replicate the century-old equipment, he had to have it custom-made and his American staff was then trained by an oil-roasting artisan from France.

The new oil mill in Woodland, California, produces oil from nuts grown in the fertile Central Valley of California. The highest quality nuts are selected, hand roasted in cast iron pots, mechanically pressed and lightly filtered. These elegant oils each have their own unique flavors.

The cast iron pots used to roast the nuts came from the mill in France, and they are as critical to the process as the artisanal know-how. “If you simply press a fresh walnut, the oil you get lacks character. But when the nuts are roasted just perfectly, the rich flavor of the nuts is brought out in the oil,” explains Matthieu. A great deal has occurred in the world since La Tourangelle first began handcrafting nut oils in France, but their traditional process has remained virtually the same. The only difference is that now these oils can be enjoyed fresh from California.

Today, La Tourangelle remains a thriving family-owned business whose mastery of oil production is the fruit of passion, integrity, and pride. In addition to its own nut oils, La Tourangelle has established partnerships with a handpicked selection of like-minded high quality oil producers, chosen to bring you the best artisan oils from around the World.

Making outstanding oil is an expertise that is part art, part science; every detail counts from the timing of the harvest, the careful selection of the fruit, to the technique for pressing. We pride ourselves in offering you the best.