The Masseria “Il Frantoio’s” Extra Virgin Olive Oils
For some years now a large part of the estate has been given up to organic production. In 2004 we made the important decision to farm much of our land with entirely organic methods and using agricultural biological techniques Silvio, our son-in-law, is in charge of the cultivation of the olive trees.
We produce five types of olive oil, two of which, Meridiano and Olio delle Pendiciare certified organic. Both of them are extra virgin and monocultivated with the oil being extracted from 100% Ogliarola Salentina olives (also known as Oliva marina). We are very proud that they are our secular olive trees and that they only grow in this land and nowhere else in the world!
The result is two sweet olive oils which are consistent, intensely fragrant, smooth, well rounded, perfectly balanced and particularly fruity because the olives are harvested at the ideal moment of maturity.
Fifteen years ago we planted a number of “cultivated” varieties in order to add to the secret blend of our Hills of Brindisi DOP olive oil, these included Cima di Melfi, Frantoio, Coratina and Pecholine. Our Trecolline olive oil is made up of a blend of at least 70% Ogliarola Salentina olives (all harvested from secular trees) and 30% from these “new” trees which produce green olives that are fruity in both aroma and taste. We call it Trecolline because our olive groves are protected by three hills.
Out of all the “new” types of olive it is the Leccina that we hold in particularly high regard. From the Leccina olive alone we draw an excellent single variety olive oil which is well balanced in colour and aroma and it is remarkably palatable even straight from the press when it is still a “novello”! Leccina is an extraordinary olive oil that is especially suitable for those who appreciate an oil that is full bodied but not in any way aggressive.
In collaboration with the Faculty of Agriculture at Bari University we also produce an olive oil that comes only from pressing the flesh of the olive, which means that, prior to pressing, the olive stone is removed. This “pitted” olive oil is known as Degli Dei (“Of the Gods”). Through this very unique method certain substances that can possibly give the oil a slightly negative taste are removed. These are substances that can affect the oil’s durability (of preservation) but above all they can homogenate the tastes of the different cultivars. Therefore, due to the absence of the crushed stone, the unique characteristics of our secular olives our undoubtedly a lot more evident. This gives Degli Dei the same quality as certain wines or grappa that come from only one type of grape and thus it affirms a strong bond with the soil rather than with the holistic psychology of “blended” olive oils.
It is a modern technique sparked by an ancient tradition: In the 1st century AD Columella drew up his “Treaty of the Country King” in which he distinguished the difference between the oil “degli schiavi” (“of the slaves”), the oil “dei re” (“of the kings”) and the oil “degli Dei” - the only one that came from pitted olives!
Masseria Il Frantoio’s Jams and Marmalades
For our jams and marmalades we use only the very best fruit, picked straight from our citrus orchard, the “secret garden” of Masseria Il Frantoio. Care of the orchard is entrusted into the expert hands of our wise gardener, Abele.
The lemons, oranges, mandarins and cedri are all harvested between October and March. It is in this period in which the skin is hard but thin and the sweetness, the scent and the flavour of the fruit is at its perfect point of maturity. This period is naturally a time of great production, with each marmalade being made in accordance with the point of maturity of it’s fruit. Not only are our marmalades delicious to eat but they are also beautifully presented and in their jars they retain all their flavour and bright natural colour.
Masseria Il Frantoio’s Rosoli
The word Rosolio is not a derivative of rose, it comes from the Latin “Ros Solis”, or rather: “the early morning tears of the sun which collect on leaves, branches and fruit”. The Rosolio of “Il Frantoio” warms the heart and aids the digestion, and is the result of a careful and timely process. A process that follows the same concepts applied in making most liqueurs using a huge variety of fruits, herbs, seeds and plants, all of which we have harvested, planted and watched grow up here on our land. None more so than the leaves of the olive trees, the crucial ingredient in our most precious and unique Rosolio: "Rosolio di foglio d’olivo" (Olive Leaf Rosolio).