Today I’d like to take you on one of my little rides in my imagination. Do you feel like coming with me to another stop on the tour of “my” region of Le Marche?
As always, let’s depart from Montecòsaro – I’m here for the next SS2021 collection and I can’t wait to show it to you. I hop in the car and head towards Fermo, about a half hour away. Actually, we’ll be visiting this beautiful small town next time. But today I’m taking you to my favorite spot, our property among the olive trees in the Sibillini Mountains.
The idea of putting myself to the test in an olive grove (and an olive mill) had been running through my head for a while. As you’ve probably realized 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 exalting any dish, extracted with artisanal know-how from the pressing of those little fruits that pop up among the branches. It’s also one of the symbols of Italian gastronomic culture – of course, I know that “Made in Italy” is not only style and fashion, even though shoes have always had a certain fascination for me, who knows why... ;)
But anyway, let’s come back to Earth. The interesting thing about our property is that we also have an olive mill, that is, a special place for pressing 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, and therefore so is the oil! And that’s why we’re quick as lightning, going from one stage to the next: we’re talking hours, not days!
Not everyone knows 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 the levels of oleic acid at their highest. It’s usually done between October and November. This year we 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 are few 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) we “stroke” the leafy branches so the olives fall directly on 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 our oil for real: smooth, fragrant, mild (olives from Le Marche are known for their low acidity). I still don’t know how, but I’m starting to get some ideas for next year... In the meantime, I’ll chow down on the 2019 produce. Bread, oil and salt is my favorite snack: it reminds me of when I was a kid.
And so, it’s time to go back home again for today. We’ll “see” each other soon, when it’s almost Christmas. #staysafe
Lots of love, ciao!