Today I’m taking you to my favourite spot: an estate among the olive trees in the Sibillini Mountains, next to our base in Le Marche.
As you’ve probably realised from this blog, I love nature (and contemplating – how many views have I stopped to stare at over these past few months?!). I also have a weakness for good food – what kind of Italian would I be otherwise?
And extra virgin olive oil (also known as EVO) has always spoken to my heart: a golden, fragrant liquid capable of enhancing any dish, extracted with artisanal know-how by pressing those little fruits that pop up among the branches. It’s also one of the symbols of Italy’s gastronomic culture – of course, I know that “Made in Italy” isn’t just about style and fashion, even though shoes have always held a certain fascination for me, for some reason... ;)
But anyway, let’s come back down to earth. The interesting thing about this estate is that they also have an olive mill, a special place where they press the olives. Fascinating, right? And practical, more than anything: not a lot of time (a few days at the most) should go by between harvesting and pressing. The quality of the fruit is at stake, which means the oil is as well! And that’s why they’re quick as lightning, going from one stage to the next: they’re talking hours, not days!
Not everyone knows that olives should be harvested when the flesh begins to lose its firmness – when they look a little more dried up, in other words. This is the ideal time, with levels of oleic acid at their highest. It’s usually done between October and November. This year (2020) they started slightly earlier: the summer was very hot and dry, so the olives were ready a little sooner.
The harvesting stage is amazing, even if it is strenuous work. After all, there aren’t many relaxing things to do in the countryside apart from my areas of expertise: observing and contemplating. With a type of long rake (think of a comb), they “stroke” the leafy branches so that the olives fall directly onto large pieces of cloth spread out under the tree. Once upon a time, the fruit used to be forced down with rods, which caused more than a little damage to the branches. But we love our plants, so the “combing” technique (as we call it) is much better. ;)
As I stroll among these olive trees, I think about how I’d really like you to taste this oil for real: smooth, fragrant, mild (olives from Le Marche are known for their low acidity).
No sooner said than done! Why not treat yourself to it here, in our online shop? Here it is!
Bread, oil and salt is my favourite snack: it reminds me of when I was a kid. Now you can try it too!
Lots of love, ciao!