Olive oil is the undisputed king of Mediterranean cuisine, not only for the unique flavor it gives to every dish, but also for its wholesomeness. As with wines, oil has its own characteristics and is tasted by professional tasters who evaluate its three main aspects: color, taste, and flavor.
The pleasant sensations of oil originate from substances that are naturally present in the healthy, fresh fruit and that together constitute the basic characteristic of olive oil: fruitiness.
When the olives are processed (obligatorily within the "production area" located on the slopes of Mount Etna), during the milling and especially the kneading phases all the natural substances of the fruit are broken down into oil and vegetation water according to their breakdown coefficient, which is greatly influenced by temperature.
That is why a judicious use of temperature in extraction results in a harmonious composition of the oil's natural substances, especially those responsible for the organoleptic characteristics and, consequently, also for the product's greater pleasantness.
THE MUNICIPALITIES OF MONTE ETNE DOP OIL
The area of production of olives intended for the production of extra virgin olive oil with a protected designation of origin includes, within the administrative territory of the Sicilian region, the olive-growing territories of the municipalities (capable of achieving the productions with the qualitative characteristics set forth in the production specification) that we list below:
Province of Catania: Adrano, Belpasso, Biancavilla, Bronte, Camporotondo Etneo, Castiglione di Sicilia, Maletto, Maniace, Motta S. Anastasia, Paternò, Ragalna, Randazzo, Santa Maria di Licodia, San Pietro Clarenza
Province of Enna: Centuripe.
Province of Messina: Malvagna, Mojo Alcantara, Roccella Valdemone, Santa Domenica Vittoria.
The Production Specification guarantees quality and typicality.
It requires that all stages of production (in the field), extraction (in the mill) and packaging are compulsorily carried out within the "Production Area" located on the slopes of Mount Etna.
METHOD OF PRODUCTION
The olives must be harvested directly from the tree using the technique of combing the foliage by hand and with the aid of suitable mechanical means and harvesting nets, in order to avoid mixing the harvested olives with those that have already previously fallen on the ground. The "bacchiatura" of branches is not allowed. Milling must take place within two days of harvesting, exclusively with stone grinders and mechanical crushers. Olives must be previously defoliated with the use of vacuum cleaners, then washed with running water. The kneading phase lasts from 15 to 40 minutes, with water at a temperature not exceeding 28-30°C.
Extra virgin olive oil is an easily perishable food that needs proper storage to keep its organoleptic characteristics intact. It is therefore advisable to store it in a cool place away from light, at a temperature between 14 and 18°C, away from heat sources and products that give off particular odors. It is also advisable to consume it within 4-6 months after pressing, in order to enjoy it in the period of maximum expression of its flavor. Monte Etna DOP extra virgin olive oil is suitable for use in cooking on roasted fish and in legume soups. For its pleasantly fruity flavor, on the other hand, it is excellent raw on bruschetta and fresh vegetables.