Strong Showing by Calabrian Producers at World Competition

Combining modern milling and harvesting techniques with a rich history, producers from the southern Italian region enjoyed plenty of success at this year's World Olive Oil Competition.

Pietro Pollizzi, owner of Enotre
Jun. 15, 2020
By Paolo DeAndreis
Pietro Pollizzi, owner of Enotre

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Part of our con­tin­u­ing cov­er­age of the 2020 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

Italian pro­duc­ers fea­tured promi­nently in the 2020 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition and com­bined to earn the most awards of any coun­try with a total of 139.

While win­ning com­pa­nies hailed from across the coun­try, brands from the south­ern region of Calabria claimed five of the indus­try’s most cov­eted qual­ity awards.

My ances­tors’ first mill was made up of a stone pulled by an ox. We wanted to bet on the qual­ity of our prod­uct. We set up an inno­v­a­tive oil mill through which we can con­trol every step of the process.- Diego Fazio, co-owner Tre Olive

Stretching from the famed toe of the Italian boot to the start of the heel, the moun­tain­ous penin­sula is the sec­ond-largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing region in the coun­try. While many Calabrian pro­duc­ers have long-estab­lished and deep roots in the sec­tor, oth­ers have expe­ri­enced have more recently emerged, in part pro­pelled by qual­ity dis­tinc­tions gar­nered at the NYIOOC.

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Investments in their olive mill led to success for Tre Olive’s producers

I still remem­ber when we began sell­ing our olive oils to the local mar­ket in our vil­lage, Mesoraca,” Pietro Pollizzi, owner of Enotre, told Olive Oil Times. We would sell a bot­tle or two per week. And now we have won a Gold Award at the 2020 NYIOOC.”

See Also: The Best Olive Oils from Italy

Over the past 10 years, Enotre has slowly become a stan­dard-bearer of the local cul­ti­var, Carolea. Its flag­ship prod­uct, Olio Enotre, is an organic oil to which the 2020 NYIOOC panel of judges attrib­uted tast­ing sen­sa­tions of arti­choke, herbs, pink pep­per, green tea and olive leaf.

Its unique taste comes from the Carolea cul­ti­var blended with the Nocellara,” Pollizzi said. Carolea is a del­i­cate olive, which has to be care­fully man­aged. The har­vest­ing is done early, in the first days of October, to retain its polyphe­no­lic prop­er­ties.”

Olio Enotre is already being exported to the United States, but Pollizzi hopes to expand the far­m’s exports to new and more uncon­ven­tional mar­kets.

More recently, we deliv­ered our prod­ucts to Japan and we began explor­ing both export and pro­duc­tion in the north of Ethiopia,” he said.

Pollizzi, who also man­ages hun­dreds of trees in Veneto, the north­ern Italian region, also hopes to begin cul­ti­vat­ing new groves in Eritrea, Ethiopia’s neigh­bor.

The cli­mate there is just per­fect for our vision of olive grow­ing,” he said.

From decade-old pro­duc­ers to multi-gen­er­a­tional fam­i­lies, the Calabrian win­ners of the NYIOOC – much like the region itself – have an eclec­tic makeup.

The fourth-gen­er­a­tion olive oil pro­ducer, Tre Olive, was among the many his­toric pro­duc­ers to make an impact at the 2020 NYIOOC.

Our com­pa­ny’s oil mill was founded by my great-grand­fa­ther,” Diego Fazio, the co-owner of the fam­ily busi­ness, told Olive Oil Times. The trees of that farm are still the core of our activ­i­ties, but now, we have added land, more trees and tech­nol­ogy as well as expanded to retail.”

Tre Olive earned a Gold and Silver Award at the 2020 NYIOOC, for two medium-inten­sity Carolea mono­va­ri­etals.

If you stroll around here you will only find Carolea trees,” Fazio said. While we expanded the com­pa­ny’s land to include more groves over time, almost 90 per­cent of them are made up of cen­turies-old Carolea trees.”

The com­pa­ny’s Campo Dieci brand, which won a Gold Award, boasts tast­ing notes of herbs, almonds, green almond, ripe olives and tomato leaf.

The oil’s name, which trans­lates to camp 10,” comes from the neigh­bor­ing land that was acquired a few years ago by Tre Olive. During World War II, the land had been used to set up a mil­i­tary camp. However, the company’s his­tory stretches slightly far­ther back, to 1934.

My ances­tors’ first mill was made up of a stone pulled by an ox,” Fazio said. Then came the first engines and new stones, then the elec­tric­ity. Long after, we changed all of that.”

We wanted to bet on the qual­ity of our prod­uct,” he added. We set up an inno­v­a­tive oil mill through which we can con­trol every step of the process and avoid any air seep­ing in dur­ing the trans­for­ma­tion process. We have deployed a nitro­gen con­trolled envi­ron­ment, a steel struc­ture and so on.”

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The team ta Parisi Donato. Photo courtesy of Enrico Parisi

Another small pro­ducer with a long his­tory of olive oil mak­ing to suc­ceed at the NYIOOC was Donato Parisi, in Rossano, which won a Gold Award.

We are proud to have won the award with our 1879 Extra Blend olive oil,” owner Enrico Parisi told Olive Oil Times. The name of our oil comes from the year the first olive oil maker in our fam­ily was born. You could look up his name in the Ellis Island reg­istries because he emi­grated to the United States and worked there.”

When he came back, he was the American uncle for my fam­ily, with new ideas and goals, and he gave birth to our farm and to olive grow­ing,” he added.

The Parisi fam­ily is proud of their his­tory and believe this is man­i­fested through the taste and qual­ity of their oils. The core of their best olive oil – a blend made of three dif­fer­ent olive vari­eties – is the Dolce di Rossano cul­ti­var, an indige­nous olive tree.

All of these trees are ancient, up to 400 years old,” Parisi said. Dolce di Rossano is a polyphe­nol-rich cul­ti­var that must be care­fully man­aged.”

The olives are har­vested with col­lec­tor nets on the ground and hand­held, long olive har­vesters,” he added. We usu­ally begin the har­vest in the very first days of October to max­i­mize the toco­pherol con­tents.”

However, the producer’s his­tor­i­cal roots do not hin­der the incor­po­ra­tion of new tech­nol­ogy into the farm.

We use two dif­fer­ent Bosch probes to ana­lyze the soil and the water con­sump­tion of our trees so as to bal­ance their needs with the right water sup­ply,” Parisi said. One probe and a satel­lite mon­i­tor­ing ser­vice allows us to mon­i­tor the pho­to­syn­thetic index and the quan­tity of bio­mass in the soil.”

The other cul­ti­vars that con­tribute to the oil are Nocellara and Tondina. To the experts of the 2020 NYIOOC panel, the 1879 Extra Blend offers tast­ing sen­sa­tions of arti­choke, radish, arugula and chicory.

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Harvesting for Azienda Agricola Arcobaleno’s award-winning Olio Frisinia

About 55 miles south of the groves of the Parisi fam­ily, the award-win­ning Azienda Agricola Arcobaleno pro­duces its extra vir­gin olive oil, near the town of Squillace.

Our farm is 450 meters (1,500 feet) above sea level, in a remote area, far away from any pol­lut­ing source,” owner Anita Regenass Frisina told Olive Oil Times. The right alti­tude, tem­per­a­tures and expo­sure to the wind all con­tributes to the opti­mal grow­ing of our plants: typ­i­cal Mediterranean trees.”

Regenass Frisina earned a Silver Award for her Olio Frisina, a medium mono­va­ri­etal.

The oil comes from the Carolea cul­ti­var, an olive tree vari­ety that man­i­fests its best qual­i­ties between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas,” said Regenass Frisina, who started pro­duc­ing olive oil in 1995.

Her com­pany man­ages around 3,500 trees, which were planted by the fam­ily in recent years beside cen­turies-old trees. Regenass Frisina attrib­uted part of her suc­cess to pair­ing these ancient trees and tra­di­tional har­vest­ing tech­niques with mod­ern tech­nol­ogy.

Our oil mill adopts the lat­est olive trans­for­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies, with non-cor­ro­sive stain­less steel tanks, con­trolled tem­per­a­ture and no con­tact with oxy­gen,” she said. Harvesting is done man­u­ally and the olives are processed within two to three hours.”


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