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Umbria
HOME PAGE » GASTRONOMY IN UMBRIA » EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

One of the prominent features of the green hills of the "Sagrantino Road" are the groves of olive trees. The very long-lived but slow-growing olive well represents this region's capacity to lovingly preserve centuries-old traditions, handed down from one generation to the next, and the flavorful extra virgin olive oil from Umbria represents the best of regional cuisine, consisting of simple, down-to-earth dishes made with wholesome, tasty foods. Virtually all of the olives grown in Umbria benefit from particular climatic conditions that allow the fruit to ripen very slowly, giving it an extremely low acid content. The hilly terrains are particularly important, especially those at the foot of mountains: these well-structured and very permeable soils allow the tree roots to penetrate easily.

Another factor in addition to soil and climate is the contribution made by man. First of all, there is the harvesting of the olives: no longer do olive growers wait until the olives have reached full natural ripeness instead it is recommended that the olives be picked when they first start to ripen, i.e. when they are only partially darkened and they are at the peak of fruitiness with a minimum of acidity. This state is usually reached during the first days of November. The very old tradition of brucatura, or hand harvesting, has instead been preserved. Just after picking, the olives are not kept until the harvest is completed; instead they are sent immediately to the oil mill, to be pressed when they are at their freshest and most wholesome.

The extra virgin olive oil produced in the five communes of the "Sagrantino Road" can make use of the "Umbria Colli Martani Protected Designation of Origin," which is for one of the five sub-zones into which the region has been divided. The main cultivar in the Colli Martani area is San Felice, a local variety that is sweeter and thus allows the Colli Martani extra virgin olive oil to compensate for the typical pungency of Umbrian olive oil coming from the "Moraiolo" olives grown almost exclusively in the rest of the region.


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