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There's nothing like making this ancient Provençal garlic mayonnaise in a mortar with a pestle; it feels better doing it and we think the finished product is ineffably better. Make sure you have a marble mortar, preferably with a wooden pestle. Make sure garlic you're using is very fresh, almost wet. And we find the most delicious aioli of all is made using bright-green, peppery, Tuscan-style olive oil. Makes about 1/2 cup

SKU 1174-Recipe


  • 2 medium, very fresh garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons green extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Fill a mortar with boiling water.  After 1 minute, spill out the water and dry the mortar.  Add the garlic cloves and the salt.  Start pounding them with the pestle.
  2. When a smooth paste is achieved, add the egg yolk.  Moving the pestle rapidly against the walls of the mortar, blend the yolk together with the garlic.
  3. When blended, begin adding the olive oil in a thin stream, still moving the pestle rapidly against the walls of the mortar.  Continue until all the olive oil is added and a thick mayonnaise is achieved.  Add water if necessary, if you like it thinner. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt if necessary. Refrigerate.