“You shall charge the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually.” Exodus 27:20
We hiked miles through the forest to the ridge and started down the mountain. A lovely German shepherd greeted us as we started back down the mountain after three miles hiking. Wild flowers and wild red poppies lined our path.
The bus waited at the end of a winding road and drove us to the Olive Oil pressing facility. The beautiful Antico Frantoio farm has been in the Nunzi family since 1860.
Processing olives is a personal and time consuming process. The first step is: cleaning the hand picked olives (between green and black) by removing the stems, leaves, and twigs. The first washing removes any dirt or pesticide on the olives.
Contamination and oxygen spoils many olive oils if they are over one year old. They use centrifugal force of spinners to crush the olives to make a paste similar to a tapenade. The olives release their oil, then are washed in cold water, and press the paste with plastic disks that can be reused.
The old stone presses were used for decoration now. This is where the terms “cold press” or first press” come from today. The guides said it was “marketing” and does not affect the quality of the oil.
The homemade lunch was amazing and food kept coming – crostini bread with olive oil and tomatoes, chickpea soup with olive oil, cooked mixed vegetables of eggplant, potatoes and peppers, scrambled eggs and zucchini, plate of meats and fresh Pecorino cheese and dessert for our ‘light lunch’. Wine, of course, was served from a bottomless pitcher with a sweet local dessert wine used for dipping the dry cake.
What do you learn about food on your trips? Have you ever changed your behavior based on what you know about food production? What is one of your favorite meals on vacation?