olive production in Italy

In late 2005 I spent four months studying olive production in Italy.  When I wasn’t talking, walking, reading and writing.

My favourite small grove – outside the Tuscan hill town of Arezzo - belongs to my friends Fiorenza and Cesare.

And here we are working together during harvest time.

The main olive press on the outskirts of Arezzo is set up with both a stone mill – for all the olive producers convinced ‘tradition’ makes the best oil - and the latest state of the art hammer mill continuous press next to it.  Fiorenza processed her first batch using the stone mill then the second batch with the hammer mill. 

During tastings the following week we all agreed the difference was so miniscule as to be unnoticeable.  Many of the producers I spoke to use the stone mill because they just love the look of it!  Others were convinced the shelf life from the modern processing machines was superior.

All of Virgo Olive Oil is processed using a Pierelisi processing plant called ‘Jes’.  It’s what I call the NEW tradition.

Exploring Italy

My friend, chef Kylie Kwong, dropped by for a few days after filming her cooking show in China. It was her first trip to Italy, so there was much to see. Everywhere we went we saw olive trees and I wanted to take photos of them.

Visiting Italian olives