The olive tree is an evergreen of great antiquity which can resist severe weather and even regenerate itself after being destroyed by frost or fire.
The variety is found in Northern Italy, especially in Western Liguri, from Andora (near Savona) to Ventimiglia on the French-Italian border. It is a typically hilly region which our ancestors exploited for growing olives by building terraces and trying to make even the steepest and most difficult terrain suitable for coltivation.
Many farmers have given up cultivating the Ligurian olive-groves, but thankfully the arrival of new technologies is allowing others like ourselves to continue producing this authentic “Antico Oro delle Valli liguri” with less labour and better results. This new technologies carry on the tradition and preserve those genuine and authentic characteristics which make our oil highly prized.
Once, the olives used to be harvested by hand, one by one, sometimes in the snow and frost. Then, fortunately, nets were invented! The nets were sewn togheter and stretched out under the trees, and saved a lot of work. But you cannot simply wait for the ripened fruit to fall of its own accord. In order to get oil of prize quality you have to use the technique of beating, that is to say, striking the branches to make the olives fall one they have reached the correct degree of maturation.
This is the operation for which we now used pneumatic beaters with arms of variable length. This not only helps our muscles, but also the tree: with this method the tree suffers less than it did with the old one using long pieces of wood which literally ripped off some of the branches.
The decision to use “traditional” mills is practically unavoidable if we want to produce oil using traditional methods. The slow circulation of the stone wheels breaks up the olives and reduces them to a paste made of the flesh and the crushed stone. The expert miller decides on the precise degree of cruscing of the olives and arranges the resulting paste in layers on the so-called “fiscoli” (discs woven with cord). The next step is pressing in high-pressure hydraulic presses.
The pressing of the “fiscoli” containing the product of the milling and centrifugal separation designed to separate the oil from the residual water are two other indispensable processes which have to be carried out cold.
In this way we can obtain a genuine oil made according to our best oil-making tradition
As you can see from the photo on the left, the oil which comes out of the separator is murky in colour, and it should remain so if it is properly preserved and particularly if it is high-quality oil. Because it is a natural product which is not subject to any further mechanical intervention, you might find a thin deposit on the bottom of the container. This is a guarantee of its authenticity. A natural oil made as it used to be, with traditional olives! In other words, a unique product, light and healthy, which can be used to enrich dishes of every kind with the aromas of the Mediterranean.