Oil making is an art that has been practiced in Sicily for almost three thousand years.
The Sicilians will be the first to warn you that many of the brand name “Italian/Sicilian” olive oils out there consist of olives from Spain, Greece, Turkey, etc. The only way to know for sure that you are getting pure Sicilian is to do the process yourself. So I went for a trip to a local olive farm and then from there to an nearby olive oil factory.
Here is a picture I found of the different regions of Sicily and the type of olives particular to those regions.
The trip was right when they were beginning the harvesting of olives in the area (November). The best part of the experience was the smell of the factory when you walked in. It was a very crisp smell of fresh olives. I wish there was a way to capture the smell and put it on the website here. As soon as you walk in you are surrounded by huge crates brimming with freshly picked olives. The crates are huge and are are stacked throughout the factory. Each crate had information on the side showing whose farm the olives were from. After talking to some of the people in the factory, farmers bring their olives here to produce olive oil for themselves. They also have the option of having the factory sell their olive oil on site.
I was really impressed with how clean the factory was. All of the equipment looked brand new and sophisticated. The Sicilians take olive oil making very seriously!!
Locally there are all kinds of places where you can show up with a jug and get a fill of fresh olive oil. This olive oil is very flavorful and great by itself with bread. Usually these places also have wine that you can fill up your containers with as well. If you don’t have any empty plastic containers they will provide you with random empty 2 liter water bottles.
Im looking forward to us tasting all the different types of Sicilian olive oils and discovering our favorites to share with others.
Click the first image for a slide show.