All over Italy, producers know that crafting the perfect olive oil is all experience, timing, skill (and a little luck). And this year, Italy’s best olive oil producers have done it again! DITALIA is proud to bring our favorites to you–fresh from Italy!
Tucked into the foothills of the Apulia region (otherwise known as the “heel” of Italy’s boot), is the rural town of Castellaneta, where 5 generations of olive oil producers have tended to the orchards of Le Ferre. Giuseppe and Luca Esposito, brothers who stepped into the olive oil arena after the 2001 harvest, are well known in the area for their craftsmanship. Giuseppe, in fact, is one of the youngest ‘maestro oleario’, or master oil makers, in Italy. Composed of the Coratina varietal, these olives are typically picked when plump and are just turning black at the tip which tends to be from November to January.
Once harvested, these olives are carefully pressed within a day of picking to preserve the number of polyphenols and health benefits in the oil. The final product is a rich blend of flavors, warm with hints of grassiness. These robust flavors, reminiscent of a summer day, pair perfectly with light flavors and drizzle well over pastas, soups, and stews. Try it in a Burrata Spinach Salad with Citrus Balsamic. The burrata (a cheese that, like this olive oil, originated in Puglia) and the burst of the citrus balsamic make this salad a refreshing ode to the Apulia region!
Geologist turned olive oil Guru, Anonino Mennella, inherited his family farm in Pasteum, Italy in 2003. Deeply committed to preserving his family’s estate, Mennella pushed forward into the cultivation of his farms, set to “fight uniformity and exalt differences.” Making the decision to mill strictly pitted, or “denocciolati” olives, Mennella creates a less acidic, mildly bitter oil. Using only indigenous olives such as the Ravece, Rotondella, Carolea, and Carpellese varieties, the masters at Modonna dell’Olivo harvest all the fruit by hand. This process runs through the months of October – November, when the olive drupes are plump.
The result of this hard labor? A smooth and creamy oil, delicate on the palate with floral highlights. The folks at Madonna dell’Olivo treat the process as an artform, with just the right blend of traditional techniques and experimentation. This eye for detail is what makes this oil so special. Try Madonna dell’Olivo Sintonia as an accompaniment to fresh spring produce, seafood, or with a rich pesto.
Situated in the foothills of Umbria, the Trampetti family uses a classic approach to create impressive olive oils. Massimo Sisani (grandson of Eugenio Trampetti) and Federico Bibi (an Umbrian agricultural specialist) have set out to achieve balance in their oils, always searching for the right blend of flavors and techniques. The Assisi-Spoleto region, dubbed the “gold coast” of olives (thanks to its bountiful soils), is known to produce vibrant green-gold fruit, such as the Moraiolo varietal. Native to the area, this olive is well known for its deep green color and earthy qualities. At Trampetti, it’s important to let the unique characteristics of a single olive shine, which is why their Umbrian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a monovarietal oil. The final product is as dynamic as the region it hails from! Light on the palate with a hint of green apple and a big peppery finish, this oil works well as a finishing oil over pastas, soups, and rich greens.
For many years, Colli Etruschi has been cultivating olives in the province of Vitterbo, Lazio (just an hour north of Rome). Carefully tended to and supervised by the agronomist, Nicola Fazzi, the Colli Etruschi cooperative is family oriented and collaborative. They are always looking for the best ways to bring their amazing olives to your table. Founded in 1965 as a collective of 350 local farmers, the company has since grown to be founded in both traditional practice, yet forward thinking. Their solar powered olive press is rooted in tradition, but is a reflection of their respect for the environment.
The olives that make up this oil are of the Caninese varietal, known for their intense lime color and their tendency to propagate well in the Lazio region. The fruits are relatively small and are typically picked when fully ripe towards the end of winter. This variety is categorized as a “late harvest,” which often yields more oil. The final product is bold and punchy with a smooth peppery finish. It pairs marvelously with seasonal vegetables and sautés, as well as with traditional pasta dishes such as Bucatini all’Amatriciana, a regional recipe honoring its origins in Lazio.
The result of a collaboration between Colli Etuschi and a handful of esteemed growers, MammaMia Grand Cru olive oil is the awesome product that demonstrates what happens when passionate people create together. All hailing from the Viterbo region of Lazio (striking for its mineral-rich soil and provincial atmosphere) the producers at MammaMia are dedicated to crafting olive oils that are of the highest quality at every step of the process. Carefully selecting the ripest fruits from the collective’s orchards, the olives are pressed with care and are transformed into oil 12 hours after harvest. The final product is fascinating to say the least. Rich and dynamic with notes of balsamic, almond, and thistle (to name a few), MammaMia Grand Cru is a true testament to the diversity of minds that created it. Whether you use it in marinades or pour it over grilled vegetables, you’re sure to taste something extraordinary!