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swirl and savor

Olio, Limoni e Ospitalità del Sud (Olive Oil, Lemons and Southern Hospitality)

Beth Ribblett

View of Bay of Naples from Frantoio Ferraro

The day was warm and dry, one of the first of such since we arrived on the coast. May, we discovered, is very different from July, the weather can be cool and a bit unpredictable.  Taking full advantage of the beautiful day, Vincenzo's brother-in-law Nicola drove us to Pompeii where a few of the girls went in to see the magnificent ruins while those of us who have already been went shopping.  After a few hours we all had our fill and took a drive down the coast to visit a frantoio, an olive mill owned by friends of Vincenzo, perched atop the high cliffs of the Sorrentine Peninsula. Stomachs rumbling from the swervy coastal switchbacks and the small breakfast consumed hours ago, we were anxious for our lunch on the "dal patriarca", the local term for a coastal garden by the olive mill where they entertain guests lucky enough to know about this place.

A lovely garden table was set for us with the beautiful Bay of Naples in full view. The warmth and generosity of the people in this area is like no other and owners Nicola and Pia bring their own regional meaning to the term southern hospitality. You instantly feel as if you are part of the family, and so you eat like family with course after course of delicious home style cooking made from recipes passed down for generations lovingly served and prepared by Pia herself.  Nicola shares a bottle of wine that he made himself from the Aglianico grapes of Taurasi and of course their olive oils add incredible flavor to all of the foods served.

Owners Pia and Nicola

Another afternoon spent relaxing with friends, indulging ourselves with delicious food and drink.  Piano, piano...slowly, slowly we take our time and finish the meal with Pia's handmade limoncello, truly the best we've ever had.  Stomachs now full and heads spinning a bit from wine and limoncello, we take a quick tour of the mill and buy as much olive oil as we can fit in our suitcases.  I wish I could have bought more!

While all of their oils were delicious our favorite is the one infused "al limone di Sorrento".  It is simply amazing drizzled on salad or a sandwich and I discovered the other day that it is wonderful with corn.  So I'm listing a quick recipe below, an easy, fresh dish made with local corn, fresh mint, vidalia onion and of course the Frantoio Ferraro Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva al Limone di Sorrento.  And if you are visiting the Amalfi coast and would like a true, family style experience of regional food and hospitality, call Vincenzo Fusco to arrange a visit and drive you to Frantoio Ferraro, and please tell him Beth & Kerry sent you!

Salute Pia & Nicola!  Thank you for a lovely afternoon!

Fresh Corn with Frantoio Ferraro Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva al Limone di Sorrento

4 ears of fresh corn, cooked and cut off the cob
10 mint leaves finely chopped
1/4 of a large vidalia onion chopped
2 T Frantoio Ferraro Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva al Limone di Sorrento
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes for the flavors to mingle.  Serves 4