An incontaminated region and skilled hands make Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Lucania (EVOO) one of the best and genuine product of this little part of Italy, since the times of Magna Graecia.
I have some experience with the production of olive oil since my granparents had a small olive grove in the hills surrounding Rapolla, in Vulture Area.
Areas of production
Vulture Area, Bassa Val d’Agri and Bassa Collina Materana.
In Vulture Area, an ancient volcano, the most important oil-producing centres are Rionero in Vulture, Melfi, Barile, Rapolla, Acerenza, Venosa and Lavello. The most widespread quality is the ‘ogliarola’.
In the Bassa collina Materana about 80% of coltivated area is olive trees and the best zones of production are Ferrandina, Bernalda, Grottole, Salandra, Grassano, Montescaglioso. The most widespread quality is the ‘maiatica di Ferrandina’.
The last area of productions is Bassa Val d’Agri and the most important oil-producing centres are Aliano, S. Arcangelo, Roccanova and Missanello. The quality is always “maiatica di Ferrandina”.
The olive harvest
Traditionally November and Decembre are the months for picking olives in Lucania in depending of the climate that is quite variable. In these months is obtained the best quality of product.
The olive harvest can be done by hand, with some special rakes, gloves or even with your bare hands. It’s a fairly hard, physical work. It starts early and ends after sunset.
From the oil-mill to the table
In Lucania there are oil mills where the olives are pressed and transformed into oil with two different methods: “cold” and “hot” pressings.
The best product from the pressing is the precious extra virgin olive oil, an essential ingredient of the Mediterranean diet.
The Lucanian families and the restaurants use the locally-produced oils, which confer a characteristic flavour to the dishes and to all the gastronomy. The oils can be purchased directly at the oil mills and, however, more easily found in the local shops.
There is a simple traditional recipes of Lucania that allow you to enjoy it at its best: bruschetta! If that’s not enough, rub a few drops of extra virgin olive oil in your hands and feel all the scents of my Lucania…