` An Olive Oil Tour in Sabina - Page 2 - Olive Oil Times

An Olive Oil Tour in Sabina

Feb. 17, 2012
Luciana Squadrilli

Recent News

Johnny takes us to Casperia along the evoca­tive scenery of the Sabine hills. We walk up to the old­est part of the vil­lage, which seems to be almost aban­doned (he tells us that sadly most of the shops closed in the last years, but dur­ing the sum­mer it comes to life again) and we reach the tem­po­rary loca­tion ofGeko 107, his olive and wine-bar. The orig­i­nal loca­tion, close by and with a beau­ti­ful ter­race, is cur­rently under refur­bish­ment.

In the small but cosy venue, with a wooden counter and Johnny’s food-related sculp­tures scat­tered around, with a glass of wine in our hands, the olive oil les­son” begins. He shows us how to taste an olive oil and, with the help of some of the most rel­e­vant pub­li­ca­tions such as the Slow Food Guide and Tom Muller’s lat­est book Extra Virginity – he tells us (in English, of course) what a proper extra vir­gin oil should taste like, and how it should have been made.

Actually it’s more a pleas­ant chat then a les­son, and for he who does­n’t dare drink­ing” olive oil Johnny pre­pares some toast – using the fan­tas­tic bread made by the famous Roman baker Gabriele Bonci — to enjoy it at its best (I have to drink it as I am there as a jour­nal­ist, but I would love to taste this spe­cial bruschetta!).

We taste three olive oils made from dif­fer­ent local pro­duc­ers: each of them has its own char­ac­ter, depend­ing on the cul­ti­vars and the far­m’s style. I par­tic­u­larly like the Colle Magrini Dop Sabina, a blend made mostly of a local vari­ety Carboncella with Frantoio and Leccino: it has a gen­tle smell, but the taste is quite intense, nicely bit­ter and herba­ceous and extremely har­monic.

Then he lets us taste a spe­cial sam­ple: the color is an aston­ish­ingly bril­liant green, the smell is not too strong but the taste…it’s explo­sive, with a strong yet pleas­ant bit­ter. This is an exper­i­men­tal extra vir­gin from Cilento (Southern Italy) obtained from olives picked on the 5th of September! That’s what I call early har­vest­ing!”


With our taste­buds still bewil­dered, we leave the Geko to reach the agri­t­ur­ismo for lunch. On the road, we stop to visit an olive grove on a hill just oppo­site Casperia (if it would have been the right time of the year, we would have vis­ited an olive mill). It’s a mag­i­cal place, with an ancient farm­house turned into a nice coun­try­house by the actual own­ers — Johnny’s friends – a great view on the ancient vil­lage and a lot of quite old olive trees, so twisted and gnarled you can hardly believe they are still alive.

But lunch waits for us! A short drive to Poggio Mirteto and we are at agri­t­ur­ismo Terra Sabina , a very nice rural restau­rant where Serena and her fam­ily (includ­ing the 88 years old granny still work­ing in the kitchen) wel­come us for a light lunch.” This includes a rich set of antipasti (starters like ham, cured meat, ricotta and matured cheese, herbs omelette, olive tape­nade, beans cream and of course the bruschetta), won­der­ful home made pasta with tomato and mush­rooms sauce with local Pecorino cheese, roasted sausages and chicken and a rich and deli­cious cake.

But before we start eat­ing, Johnny has three more olis for us to taste, all made by the same multi-award win­ning coop­er­a­tive from Blera (in the Viterbo province), Colli Etruschi. Usually coop­er­a­tives in Italy don’t eas­ily reach high stan­dards, but this is an excep­tion. Its prod­uct are always good, but the 2011 extra vir­gin – made only from olives of the Canino vari­ety – is stun­ning: with its spiced fla­vor, it has a round yet per­fectly clean body and it leaves a tasty pun­gent after­taste that lasts so long.

Time to leave: but before tak­ing us at the sta­tion, Johnny stops for one last, sur­pris­ing visit. In Canneto Sabino, just out of Fara Sabina vil­lage, there is the Ulivone: a mas­sive 2,000 year-old wild olive tree said to be the biggest in Europe. It used to be prop­erty of he Farfa Monastery but since 1870 it belongs to the Bertini fam­ily. Visitors are wel­come to admire this huge, old giant that still pro­duces olives (it started again after the 1985 frost).

This is really the best way to say hello to Sabina, to my fel­low trav­ellers and to Johnny. Tomorrow is a Monday, work starts again and I’ll have to wait one more week to relax on my sofa. But this was really worth the early ris­ing.

Related News

Feedback / Suggestions