💚 Extra virgin olive oil is back in season + our newest additions to our Olive Oil range! 💚
Our olive oil producer, Academia Olearia of Alghero, Sassari, produces 60% of all DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta or Protected Designation of Origin) olive oil in Sardinia, and has been producing extra virgin olive oil of the highest quality for four generations.
In 2017, they received the award for best territorial performance in the Oli d’Italia 2017 guide by Gambero Rosso. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious ‘5 drops of Bibenda’ for their ‘Gran Reserva Fruttato Verde 2017’. They were additionally selected by the Slow Food organisation as one of 21 Sardinian Olive Oil producers to be included in its extra virgin olive oil guide; those selected are companies that use methods with very low environmental impact whilst also preserving the cultivation of traditional varieties of olive, as well as traditional production methods, as an indicator of the highest quality extra virgin olive oils being produced.
The process for making their excellent olive oils begins with growing various olive cultivars over 220 hectares of land, utilising techniques that increase yield of the fruit itself, and create a more closed loop in the chain of production in terms of waste.
For example, workers will spray olive trees that are fruiting with a mixture of kaolin clay and water, which dries onto the plant under the sun. This simple protective barrier is crucial for preventing olive fruit flies from damaging this precious crop by laying their eggs inside the fruits. Without the use of any chemical that might disrupt delicate ecological balance, this barrier effectively increases yields and is easily removed before processing just by washing away the soft and inert clay dust.
The olives are also milled carefully, depending on the flavour profile desired; the olives can be cut into only three pieces for oils that have a bold flavour (such as Novello), as this preserves nutrients, polyphenols and flavour compounds that can easily be released when the fruits are milled further. This allows for blends using olive cultivars such as carolea and biancolilla, allowing their characteristic flavours to come through, and balancing flavours at a later production stage to achieve the exact desired flavour.
More delicately flavoured or unblended oils (such as Semidana) are milled into much smaller pieces, so their flavour can be more readily balanced and controlled at this step, as undesirable stronger flavour compounds are reduced by their increased contact with the open air. All milling will take place within ten minutes for each batch, otherwise oxidation will occur and ruin the final product.
The method for milling olives and pressing the resulting paste always happens below 27 degrees Celsius, the cut off temperature for ‘cold extraction’ methods. The oil itself is also stored at 15 degrees Celsius. This ensures that volatile compounds that lend flavour and aroma to the oil are not brought up to evaporation temperatures, as well as preventing nutrients in the oil from being destroyed.
Novello is a cold pressed and unfiltered extra virgin olive oil from Academia Olearia. Made from a blend of different cultivars of olive harvested early in the season, Novello is an oil with a very strong and pure flavour, with notes of bitterness and spiciness shining through. It is perfect for dressing salads and flavourful dishes, with its bold and fresh olive flavour cutting through acidity and adding dimension to strong flavour profiles.
Semidana is a monocultivar cold pressed oil from Academia Olearia, made only from olives of the same name. Semidana has a gentle and fruity taste that is well balanced, allowing for combination with delicate flavours, such as seafood dishes.
Academia Olearia also produces beautiful olives preserved in brine of the Bosana variety. They are a staple of Sardinian cuisine, with a medium fruitiness, spiciness and slight bitterness that makes them excellent for eating.