Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Today we want to tell the story of a special plant with ancient origins that is at the heart of Mediterranean civilization, and part of the Mediterranean identity. We’re talking about the olive tree, the beautiful gnarled ancient tree with its silvery green leaves and its fruit, the olive. Such a small thing, but it is almost sacred to the Italians, and essential to their diet, as it is their only source of vegetable fat, vitamin E and beta-carotenes.
Mankind discovered how to transform the fruit into oil now millennia ago, so the story of olive oil is the story of an entire civilization.
In Italy olive oil is produced by paying equal respect to the rhythms of nature, the environment, the taste of the oil and the best farming practices. In many farms the laborious process of using a millstone is still used to maintain the fragrance of the product. In some farms scattered throughout the countryside, ancient olive presses are still preserved to satisfy the curiosity of tourists on holiday.
In the past in Salento oil processing was done in mills, underground chambers carved into the limestone, primarily because the rock was easy to work and did not require a lot of energy, and secondly because the temperature below ground helped with the production. Care and attention turn the green olives into the golden-coloured liquid that is so valuable and so envied around the world.
Once these lands were exploited to produce low-quality oils to be used in industry, but today our oil is the finest and the most valuable in the Mediterranean and is used almost exclusively in the kitchen.
Also, the types of olives that we put to good use are all local varieties: Cellina of Nardo and Ogliarola of Lecce. The latter, mentioned by ancient writers such as Cato, Varro and Macrobius, who emphasized oil refinement, is also appreciated for its high yields. The most valuable, however, is the Cellina of Nardo, with its lower yield but with a more special and unique taste.
The quality of our oils that are served in every restaurant in Salento, to embellish your holiday, is demonstrated by their PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). These include Olio Terra D’Otranto and Olio Collina di Brindisi.
For Salento locals olive oil is a way of life. It is used every day in the kitchen just as it is in hotels and restaurants, not only in Salento, but also around the world. Take advantage of your stay with us by visiting an oil mill and tasting the various oils, perhaps accompanied by some of the typical local dishes.