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blog swirl & savor

Mandranova, Sicilian Olive Oil From the Gods

Beth Ribblett

Located only 90 miles from the coast of North Africa, Sicily's summer sun is relentless which gives Sicilian produce an intensity of flavor that is not found in the north of Italy.

Olive oil is almost synonymous with Italian cooking, and nearly every region in Italy has its own homemade variation. Sicilian olive oil, however, may boast the oldest lineage, dating back to the 5th century B.C. when colonists from Greece were probably the first to plant olive trees in Sicily, starting around 500BC.

Sicily currently has four certified DOP (designation of origin) olive growing regions and is waiting on certification for two other areas. Sicily commits thousands of acres of land to growing olives and the high quality olives produced are a result of fertile, volcanic (in parts) soil. While Carolea, Nocellara, and Biancolilla are the most widely cultivated olive varieties in Sicily, one can also find Crasto, Ogliarola Messinese, Cerasuola, La Minua, La Cavaleri, Tonda Iblea, Moresca, and Castiglione.

The Mandranova Olive Oils come from Southern Sicily, near Agrigento. They focus on preserving the particular quality of each type of olive. Their extra-virgin olive oils are "monocultivar", sort of like single varietal, and their methods of pressing the oil vary according to each variety of olive. An accurate control process of each stage of the productions makes it possible to obtain products of highest quality, which has been recognized by several prizes awarded at both national and international level.

The oils are incredibly fresh, just pressed in October and are absolutely delicious! We are sharing samples of them with a few of our wholesalers to see if they would be interested in bringing them in to the United States for us. Keep your fingers crossed because if you are nuts for great olive oils like we are, trust me, you want these in your pantry!

This is a great video filmed by the Culinary Media Network demonstrating the proper way to smell and taste olive oil from Sylvia di Vincenzo of the Mandranova Estate in Sicily.

Mandranova is also an Agriturismo Resort and is a must visit for any trip to Sicily. Check out their site at http://www.mandranova.it.

Ciao!