Originating in Central Asia, the walnut tree still flourishes in the plains and hilly regions. The first grafts were made by the Persians, which resulted in the creation of delectable and fleshy walnut varieties. Today, China, the United States, Central Europe or even Turkey are among the world’s largest producers. In France, the Persian walnut tree or the common walnut tree are the best known. The trees grown are grafted trees that begin to produce after 5 to 6 years. They are in full production after 25 years and can produce up to 70 years.
In the central region of France, walnut oil is a historical and symbolic product, whose first records date back to the 15th century. However, it was in the 18th century that production of walnut oil was the most significant, and became a mainstay of the regional economy. The name of the commune (Noyers-sur-Cher) in which the Guénard oil mill was established perfectly illustrates the importance of walnut tree cultivation in this region. Walnut oil is also listed in the inventory of France’s culinary heritage for the central region.
The walnut is a tree nut with its “kernel” inside composed of two parts.
In France, there are two protected designations of origin* (PDO) for walnuts :
- Grenoble walnuts (PDO since 1996) with three local varieties: Franquette, Mayette and Parisian (in shells only).
- Perigord walnuts (PDO since 2002) with the varieties: Corne, Franquette, Grandjean and Marbot.
*Created in 1992, this label protects the name of a product, whose production, processing and formulation must take place in a specific geographical area with a recognized and verified expertise. The distinctive taste, origins and qualities of the product are thus protected.
The walnut harvest begins in September and lasts for about two weeks. The nuts are harvested directly on the trees through mechanical vibration. These are immediately collected in order not to lose the qualities of the fruit. They are then cleaned, sorted and then dried at room temperature. The kernel halves will be destined for the pastry market and the kernel quarters and broken kernels will be used for manufacturing oil. Between 1.5 to 2.5 kg of kernels will produce approximately 1L of walnut oil.
Walnut oils are the historical products of the brand. Manufactured since 1824, they are made from the kernels pressed within our production plants according to an expertise passed down over the generations, which respects all of the intrinsic qualities of the fruit. A light cooking of the crushed kernels before pressing gives the oil a toasted taste, which will enhance the flavors of the walnuts. In order to satisfy all your desires, Guénard offers you walnut oils with a variety of flavor intensities through varying blends of virgin oil.
Our French walnut oil is produced not only with kernels from French cooperatives but also from individual growers in the region. This local supply helps to perpetuate walnut cultivation and operations in the central region. The expertise of the Guénard oil mill thus serves the local economy and protects biodiversity in the region.
The 100% virgin, French walnut oil is produced according to an artisanal process. The kernels are crushed and then toasted in cast iron pans in order to preserve and enhance the aromas of the nut. Finally, it is pressed to extract virgin walnut oil with an intense and distinctive taste.