How many Sicilian olive varieties do you know? Here are five examples of excellent extra virgin olive oil made with five different varieties on the biggest island in the Mediterranean. BKWine Magazine’s Åsa Johansson goes olive oil tasting.
The farm Mandranova is one of Sicily’s most appreciated olive oil producers. It is run by Giuseppe and Silva Di Vincenzo, their beautiful farm is not far from the city of Agrigento, about one and a half hours drive from the Catania Airport. (If you drive like an Italian.) Every year, they pick the olives from about 10,000 of their own trees growing in the Sicilian soil next to almond trees and palm trees. The fifty thousand bottles that cost about eleven euros per half litre are quickly sold out.
-We have no olive oil left to sell, laughs Giuseppe di Vincenzo when we meet in February 2018.
On Mandranova they grow five local olive varieties, biancolilla, cerasuola, coratina, giarraffa and nocellara. In total the whole world, there are about 700 types of olives, of which 300 can be found in Italy. They have a stunning 60 million trees in Italy, of which about one million are protected because of their impressive age. Apulia is the Italian region that produces the most olive oil, about 40 percent of the total production in Italy.
At Mandranova you can also take cooking classes and you can stay in ten beautifully decorated rooms. And do not worry, they always save a couple of bottles of olive oil for their own kitchen to cook with!
Five different extra virgin olive oils from Mandranova
Light green in colour.
Aromas of basil and green salad, sweet taste with a light peppery tone in the aftertaste.
Perfect for fish dishes, white meats and salads.
Light green in colour.
Aromas of grass and tomato, medium peppery. Suitable for fish and shellfish, fresh cheeses and for use in the dough for bread.
Aromas of fresh olives, almond and dried grass.
More bitter than peppery.
Perfect for soups with legumes, vegetable sauces, red meat and aged cheese.
Aromas of almond, rucola and rosemary. Intensive bitter flavour with moderate peppery tones.
Perfect for soups made from legumes, red meat and stronger cheeses.
Intense green colour with golden yellow tones.
Aromas of tomato, artichoke and freshly cut grass.
Bitterness and spice in balance.
Can be used with almost all types of food!
Åsa Johansson is BKWine’s person in Italy. She lives in Florence since the early ’00s. Asa writes regularly on wine and food in Swedish and Italian publications as well as online.
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