From the harvest to the olive oil mill

As well as being a dressing, extra-virgin olive oil is considered a food in its own right, and is very much a key component in the Mediterranean diet. The olives cultivated in our groves are of the Morellina, Leccina and Correggiola varieties, and are harvested in mid-October, as we prefer our oil to have less acidity, reducing the yield but enhancing the flavour! y law, the acidity level of an extra-virgin olive oil cannot be above 0.8%: the pH of extra-virgin olive oil is expressed in terms of the oleic acid’s free fatty acids.

The olives are harvested using a combing process: we lay a sheet underneath the olive trees and comb the branches with a rack to make the olives fall. This is a very natural method that does not damage the tree and allows the olives to retain all of their properties.

We bring the olives to the olive oil mill on the same day on which they are harvested in order to avoid any enzymatic degradation of the triglycerides – a process that would result in higher oil acidity. Most importantly, however, we do so in order to stop the olives from rotting.

We chose our olive oil mill carefully, opting to work with a mill that uses traditional, old-fashioned millstones (hence the name “Le Macine”, meaning “millstones” in Italian). Thanks to the use of the millstones, the oil has a fruity but light fragrance, and the properties of the olive are not compromised.

The olive-processing operation passes through several stages: grinding, malaxation, centrifugation and oil production.

The aim of malaxation is to extract juices from the olive, breaking down its walls. This process produces an olive paste composed of oil, water and some solid parts. Centrifugation allows the liquid materials to be separated from the solids: the liquid part is composed of water and oil, whereas the solid part is the residue – i.e. the olive pomace, which is composed of olive skin, pit fragments, pulp and seeds. In the last phase of centrifugation, the oil is separated completely from the water.