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Sicily’s Gold

October 8, 2011

I have a passion for olive oil and my taste buds are used to enjoying the very best kind right here in Sicily.  So while shopping at a local farmer’s market recently and talking to a vendor, Julia Cali’, while buying her olives, I learned I could visit the olive mill when her father Franco Cali’ would take the freshly picked olives to make olive oil.  So last night, I joined Julia and Franco at the olive mill to experience the olive oil making process and buy my olive oil.

As I drove up to the olive mill and stepped out of my car, my senses were hit by the strong fragrance of olives permeating the surrounding air.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching the entire process of preparing the olives, washing them, crushing them and then the final product flowing into my jug.    These olives are the variety that grows right here in the Mt. Etna region and they are called Nocellara Etnea.

Franco Cali’ has a passion for what he does and it shows.  He explained how he prefers making the olive oil early in the season, in the beginning of October when the olives are at their best.  By making the oil at this stage of the olives’ ripening process, the oil he produces from his batch is less in quantity, but better in quality.  The yield is about 10% at this stage; for 500 kilos the yield is 50 litres.

This oil is unfiltered and will improve as it sits and sediment sets on the bottom.  It is pungent with a slight bitter after taste which requires an accustomed palate.  Personally I love it!

Below are pictures taking last night at the olive mill and the final picture shows an old fashioned olive press, made of wood, standing next to a Sicilan cart.

I want to thank Julia and Franco for inviting me to join them and allowing me to enjoy this experience.

As I drove home, I stopped at the baker’s to buy piping hot bread and enjoy Pani Cunzatu, bread dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper, at home.  It calls for black olives but I had none! Next time!

From → Food in Sicily

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