Olives and olive oil

An olive tree is a precious resource and olive oil is an even greater one. The Marche has always had anenviable reputation for both. In the XIII century, the ships from the Marche that called along the Po river would pay their docking fees in olive oil, which was considered of superior value than that from other regions in Italy. Even the Venetians knew of the value of “l’olio de Marchia”, and it retailed there at a higher price for its fine aroma and flavour, qualities it still maintains today.

The quality and typicality of the region’s olive oil are the result of a combination of factors: the numerous local varieties, different from zone to zone, the distinct climate of the Marche, the traditional growing and harvesting techniques and, last but not least, the well-preserved traditions at the olive presses, which are a combination of cutting-edge technology and small family presses.

The result is an olive oil which for years now has earned awards both at home in Italy and abroad.

Typical Marchigiano olive oil is slightly fruity and hints of grass, green almonds and artichokes. It has a well-balanced flavour with just a touch of bitterness and spice due to the polyphenols, nature’s antioxidants. The many typical varieties that grow in the region are combined with the Frantoio and Leccino olives in differing proportions, bringing forth different characteristics each time. This results in an infinity of nuances and aromas which make each tasting of it a unique and unrepeatable moment.

Certoceto olive oil has been certified a DOP (PDO, Protected Designation of Origin) product, but there are many others well worthy of note: the Coroncina, Piantone di Falerone, Piantone di Mogliano, Sargano di Fermo, Orbetana, Mignola, Carboncella, Raggia and Raggiola.

These are just some of the varieties which have resulted in mono-varietals with distinct organoleptic characteristics.

The olive designated for eating is just as precious as resource. The Ascolana Tenera, which the classic Latins called picena, is unique. Tasty, crispy and easy to digest, it is easily the best green olive anywhere in the world. The ideal habitat for olive trees, made up of a combination of crumbling of calcareous rocks on travertine, the rivers and a climate in which they thrive, is in the vicinity of Ascoli Piceno, although the production area is far more extensive. Enthusiasts of this olive praise its low oil and acid content, how tasty it is in brine (Pliny) or pleasurable either before or after a meal (Martial), but admirers from less distant times abound as well: Pope Sixtus V, Garibaldi, Rossini and Puccini. It is distinguished by an extreme delicacy. In order to be processed the olive must be completely whole and undamaged. One can only imagine the supreme patience and ability of the women from Ascoli Piceno who still pick this veritable treasure. The relatively scant production levels registered up until now may soon increase thanks to the DOP recognition. The olive is famous not just for its version in brine, but also for a stuffed and deepfried version known as all’ascolana. When the raw materials and the frying technique are original, the result is a true delight for the palate.

Text was taken up and elaborated by the pubblication “Made in Marche – 0km flavours and quality shopping”