Olive Oil

History of extra-virgin oil in the West seems to be born just in Sicily.
It is thought that the olive-oil is original of the Armenian region included between Palmir and Turkestan, then would have been diffused in the Mediterranean area.
The cultivation of olives was already practiced in the Creta island in the 3000th A.C, in Egypt in the 2000 A.C, and in Palestine in the 1000 A.C. In Greece, especially in the Carthaginian area and in Cirenaica, it was introduced between the IXth and VIIIth A.C. Then Phoenicians and Greeks introduced it in Sicily and during the ensuing centuries in other regions of Italy and in Spain, later in Gallia. At the end of Republican Roman age it was diffused in all the Mediterranean basin.
Today Sicily is the first in all the international and national competitions.

 

Olives

Sicily is rich of different olive-cultivars. The different varieties of Biancolilla, Cerasuola, Nocellara of Belice, Nocellara of Etna, Moresca, Messinese Ogliarola, Passalunara, Santagatese, Tonda Iblea, Minuta, Crastu, Verdese make the island unique for quality and possibility of choice between oils greater or lesser fruity.
Here is a short review of the main cultivars:


Cerasuola


Nocellara del Belice


Biancolilla



Cerasuola


Nocellara del Belice


Biancolilla


Biancolilla East Sicily

This cultivar takes its beautifulest name from the colours that characterize its maturation. The unripe olive is almost of white colour, not green like the others, and turns to the lilac during the ripening. The climate is indeed special, in particular if we consider the influence that have the two seas, Ionian to east and Tyrrhenian to north, in conditioning winds, humidity and temperatures; perhaps that’s the reason of the peculiarity of this cultivar that produces a delicate and romantic oil, perfectly coupled with boiled fish and fresh cheeses. It is of green colour with yellow unloaded hues; the fragrance begins with the green apple and ends with smells of rocket; the flavour is sweetest, graceful, and tickles a little bit.To the palate is fluid and fresh.
Use: bruschette with pecorino and eggplants, baked buttermilk curd, pasta with buttermilk curd, rhombus with marsala, anchovies with wild fennel. Excellent coupling: involtini of sword fish cooked in a traditional messinese way.


Nocellara of Belice Western Sicily

The Western tip of Sicily is dominated by Nocellara of Belice especially in Selinunte. The plant, of medium stalk, characterizes the landscape that shares with the rows of Black of Avola and Nerello Mascalese olives. This oil comes from hills of Castelvetrano where its cultivation and production are of lofty quality. The colour is green-bottle with little gilded hues; the fragrance is of celery and raddishes with scents of fresh vegetables; the flavour is sweet never bitter, tasty and spicy.
Use: sauce of garlic and eggplants, on the sicilian flower, got mouldy cheese soft to raw paste, pasta with eggplants, oranges salad with sugar and oil of Nocellara, grill sword-fish with garlic and Nocellara.


Tonda Iblea Southern Sicily

This oil has a deep green-emerald colour and a certain flavour of tomato leaves; the taste is sweet, rich, tasty, intense, persistent and strong; to the palate it tickles with intensity.
Use: seasoned caciocavallo of Ragusa, tomato, mozzarella and basil salad, pasta with magrebino saffron and ciliegini, sauce of capers, tuna chops with capers. Excellent coupling: ragout of tuna to the ragusana way.


Cerasuola

(synonyms: Ogliara, Ugghiara, Purrittara, Palermitana, Ugghiarola)

 This variety is mostly diffused in the provinces of Agrigento, Palermo and Trapani. It resists to dry weather and blooms in the second decade of May. The drupe is spheroidal, of medium largeness, of black-violaceous colour, with late and gradual maturation.The olives, rich of pulp, are also appreciated for the table worked in black ("passuluna").The better time for the harvest goes from the end of October to the first half of November. The yield in oil of this variety is high, in particular microclimates are known superior yields to 30%, with drupe not dehydrated. The oil can have excellent chemical-physical and organoleptic characters. It is fruity and to the taste bitter, spicy and sweet. According to the maturation stages it has fragrance of fresh grass and green almond or leaf. Oils of great harmony are also obtained in late ages.


Giarraffa

(synonyms: Pizzu di Corvu, Cacata di ciocca, Giarrafara, Cefalutana, Giarraffella, Raffu)

This variety is present in low percentages in various areas of the Central-Western. It is present in the Palermitan area, mainly in Giuliana.The productivity is rather low and alternating. The fruit is big (gr 10-12) and fit for the preparation of green and black olives for table. The pulp comes off the kernel easily, the relation pulp/kernel is high, equal to 5,6. For the production of black olives it is appreciated thanks to the beautiful colour of the fruits. The yield in oil is of 16-18%.The resistance to the cold is good.


Moresca

(synonyms: Maiorana, Turdella, Reale, Catanisa, Imperiale, Iannusa, Nerba)

Diffused in the Central-Oriental part of Sicily, it is found in particular in the province of Catania, Siracusa, Ragusa, Enna and Caltanissetta. It is successfully cultivated in the hilly zones. The fruit of elevated size, ripens prematurely, and is fit to the preparation of black olives with dry salt. The yield in oil is around the 16-19%; its quality is good. Kept in its ambient it is resistant to cold; The cultivar is autosterile.


Nocellara Etnea

(synonyms: Nuciddara, Paturnisia, Patriscina, Pizzuta, Marmurigna, Marmurina, Oliva of Paternò, Rappara, Turturella, Virdisi)

 This variety is diffused above in the provinces of Catania and Siracusa. In the Catanese area it is present above all in the piedmontese area to the South-East of Etna, in particular in Paternò, Belpasso and Misterbianco.The variety is cultivated for the table product and, therefore, gives good fruits in fertile lands. In poor lands it emphasizes the productive alternation. The productivity, in general, is elevated. The drupes have a thick pulp, of medium consistency and valuable quality, with a relation pulp/stone equal to 6. Excellent for the production of green olives for table because it resists well to the tannery. The yield in oil is good and can reach 18-20%.The variety resists little to the cold.


Ogliarola Messinese

(synonyms: Calamignara, Olive of Termini, Big Olive, Olive of Castru, Paturnisa, Terminisa, Castriciana, Nostrale)

This variety diffused in several provinces, is mostly cultivated in the provinces of Messina and Palermo. It has, like the previous variety, high yields in oil that can arrive to 25%. The oil is a lot appreciated by the consumers for the harmonic characters. It is little bitter and spicy and can have little sweet taste. The fragrance is fruity of medium intensity, with scents of green olive and leaf. For its dimension the drupe is fit for the production of table olives. It’s worked in green with the “natural” system, which aromas of officinal plants join, besides in black.


Santagatese

(synonyms: Comune, Mantonica, Mezzano, Rizza, Oliva of Ogghiu, Palermitana)

This variety is mostly cultivated in the Western coastal zone of the province of Messina. It grows sufficiently in the zones exposed to cold winds. The productivity and the yield in oil (20%) are elevated.


Verdese

It is mostly present in the South-eastern Sicily, and mainly in the provinces of Caltanissetta, Catania, Ragusa and Siracusa. For its attitudes it is cultivated in the Iblei plateaus, typical variety of areale DOP (denomination of protected origin of extravirgin oil) "Iblei Mounts", where it gives good results in fertile lands. It is found in poor lands also, where it gives moderate productions.

 

Sicilian Olive Oils have been distinguished in the last years in order to have gained the more important rewards in more prestigious agroalimentary national and international competitions. It is enough to see in the following lines the results obtained by sicilian companies during the fairs and competitions, and you can realize the importance that has today the sicilian oil:

“Montiferru”

“Leone D’oro” 

“Orciolo D'oro”

“Ercole Olivario”

“Sol D'oro”  Verona

“L’Oro dei Normanni”

“Festambiente”

“Biol Sicilia”

“Biol” Internazionale

Silver  Olive

“Golden Olive

“Concorso Nazionale dell’Olio Extravergine Biologico”

 “Olivo Saraceno”

“Product Awards Competition”

“Cibus”

“Cibus Med”