Menton-quand-l-huile-et-le-citron-unissent-leurs-fragrances-Tribuca-journal-n-702-du-8-août-2013 Huilerie Saint Michel

Chin: when oil and lemon unite their fragrances – Tribuca journal n°702 of August 8, 2013

Between tradition and predestination, the journey of Karim Djekhar, from Algeria to Huilerie Saint-Michel.

At the end of rue Bréa, in old Menton, Huilerie Saint-Michel has kept the deliberately old-fashioned charm of the company founded in 1896 by the Del Becco family, with its olive trees in the Menton hinterland and of two mills in Breil and Tende. When war and its destruction ravage the mills, the oil mill will survive.

Born in Algeria, returned to France, settled in Menton with his parents in 1961, Karim passed his baccalaureate there, began two years of computer science studies and sought, in this context, a practical internship. He spots the store, it charms him, and proposes his application which is accepted. Second turning point in destiny, still a little tricky when you were born in Zitouna in Constantine, a name that smells of olives, with grandparents who still own an olive grove there. The collaboration will continue and, after 20 years, Karim, his two brothers and his wife Sylvie take over the business and revitalize it.

A lot of work, method, smile and welcome, innate sense of commerce, the couple choosing, alongside traditional olive oil, to offer a complementary range of vinegars, aromatic salts, jams, Breil honey, saffron from mountain, homemade limoncello. And above all a high-end collaboration with the talent and reputation of Menton chef Mauro Colagreco. The two partners joined forces to develop a culinary specialty bearing the Mauro logo, a Menton lemon oil obtained by maceration.

Inspired by the method of Grasse perfumers based on a low acidity aglandeau. Faced with success, the following year, in 2011, the Asian influence dear to Mauro led to the development of a fresh lemon/ginger oil and, the chef's inspiration having no reason to dry up, they followed by a Sichuan pepper oil which enchanted Passard and another, just as subtle, with pink berries. We are already being told of a new rarity with Japanese flavors with a sanchô oil, a spice with peppery intensity and acidic accents of lemon and lemongrass in the tradition of yuzu. The elegant, well-designed bottles and the quality of the welcome in store have contributed to the reputation of this dynamic company which today generates 20% of its turnover on the internet.

Liliane Tiberi

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