Extra virgin olive oil, which is the best?

16.10.2019

What is the best olive oil on the market? A survey in 2019 has examined 30 brands of extra virgin olive oil commonly sold at the Italian supermarket (organic and non-organic) and has compiled an interesting list: 22 products passed the exam.

One of the most beneficial food products for our health, olive oil, has quality often undermined by threats such as the widespread use of insecticides in olive groves or the price war, but constant monitoring allows us to purchase excellent products.

This is why; first, it is necessary to be wary of low cost offers and rather to look at the cost per liter and the label:

– The European origin (can be indicated the State from which the product arrives or, even more generically, Union) says that a member country produces the olive oil. The indication of origin refers to the area in which the olives were harvested and where the oil mill where the oil was extracted is located.

– The classification, the name, the producer, the volume and the expiry date are fundamental elements to take into consideration (the bottling date or the harvest year, on the other hand, are optional specifications).

EVO in a laboratory

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS

In the analyzes the chemical and taste tests of the panel of tasters evaluated parameters such as:

Acidity, which tends to increase especially if the olives from which the oil was obtained were not in perfect condition

Number of peroxides, i.e. the state of oxidation of the oil

Spectrophotometric analysis in the UV, which evaluates the absorption of ultraviolet rays and provides useful information on the state of preservation of the oil

Level of alkyl ethyl esters of fatty acids, to assess the quality of the starting olives

Organoleptic assessment, conducted by a panel of expert tasters to verify the conformity of the products to the characteristics of extra virgin olive oil

Chemical analyzes conducted and envisaged by European legislation to check that the extra virgin olive oil has not been counterfeited, namely that is mixed with different oils or refined olive oils.

The oils judged not to be high (“low quality”) are eight, due to the failure to pass the sensory test, even if the chemical analyzes, unlike the past tests, have excluded any type of fraud.

Quality first

STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS

Once you buy a good oil, remember that it must be stored correctly. Indeed, exposure to air, light and heat are its enemies and olive oil is easily subject to oxidation.

We need to remember to:

• Store the oil in a cool, dry place, away from light and heat sources

• Prefer stainless steel (classic milk) or dark glass containers and to use transparent oil bottles for the quotidian cooking

• Always close the bottle to prevent air contamination.

Aspromonte Park, return to Greek culture!

2.10.2019

There is a Greek Calabria, land of myth, isolated, wild, rural. Hospitable and spiritual. Greek in the landscape, in food, in religious traditions, in craftsmanship, in idioms: between the Aspromonte and the Ionian, many elders still speak the language of Homer!

Old village Gallicianò

Gallicianò, a small village, is entirely Hellenophone. That strip of Calabria (Bovesìa) so close to the Strait is Greek also in the toponymy, but above all in the manifestation of the feeling of “filoxenia”, love for the foreigner, ancestral concept of hospitality, as the Greeks conceived it in antiquity…

THE CALABRIA OF THE “FILOXENÌA”

In the Grecanic area (which preserves deep Byzantine traces), from Pentedattilo to Bova, passing through Amendolea, Gallicianò, Roghudi, Chorìo, Roccaforte, Condofuri, Palizzi, Staiti, Sant’Agata del Bianco, Brancaleone, up to Africo, the stranger is a deity.

And as such it is treated. Do not be surprised, therefore, if you will receive an invitation to lunch from the locals: there is a “lestopitta” (Greek-style unleavened bread), always ready to be filled in every home.

Certainly, some of the residents you meet on the street will guide you to discover the places, telling you stories and legends. It is their welcome.

Landscape of the park: the sea on the horizon

EXPERIENTIAL TOURISM FROM THE ASPROMONTE TO THE IONIAN

The journey has to be prepared carefully, requires a conscious and participatory approach: it is slow, experiential tourism. The local tourist offices provide valuable information.

Ghost Greek Village of Roghudi

It should be noted that the roads within the Aspromonte National Parkthe kingdom of the Sibyl – are impervious, the vertiginous valleys. That from the villages to the coast you go up and down between domes of rocks with slopes of a thousand meters.

A marvelous environment, in an aerial perspective

In the distance, Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano. Lunar landscapes: mulberries and junipers among the gullies. And the most beautiful river in the world: the Amendolea.

Lake Menta

The urban archaeological park of Brancaleone Vetus (“ancient”) looks down on the so called “Valley of Armenians” and its villages.

Cascade of Amendolea

The gaze ranges from new Africo to the marina of Bruzzano, on bergamot plantations, on ancient vines and ancient olive trees.

The native goats, balanced on the steep walls of the mountains, among small groups of abandoned houses, have a prehistoric beauty.

Brancaleone Vetus

THE SEA OF CORRADO ALVARO

The sea there is like you’ve never seen it before. Needless to say that it is Caribbean: in the Greek navies of Calabria “the deserted sea lays like a child’s painting on the arc-shaped, white and solitary coast“, wrote Corrado Alvaro, a famous writer native of San Luca.

Corrado Alvaro

On the sandy beach, from Melito to Brancaleone, it will be easy to follow the turtle hatching: the environmentalists of the Caretta turtle Calabria Conservation association will guide you in the exploration.

This way your journey in Calabria will become also a real experience of the richness of sea and a chance to learn new things.

THE MUSEUM OF THE CALABRIAN GREEK

The museum of the Greek-Calabrian language of Bova named after the German linguist Gerhard Rohlfs.

Pentedattilo ghost village

He was the first to support the  origin from Magna Graecia of the spoken language still living in the Hellenophonic villages and in the most inaccessible slopes of the southern Aspromonte.

The Greek Calabria is “like a relic” of 2500 years ago.

Africo Ruins in the Grecanic area

Local Shepherds are as repositories of secrets and ancient knowledge. For example, the music and the tarantellas “remember the sacred dances of the Greeks”.

This is the reason why the village of Pentedattilo was recovered (this is a few houses perched on a rock that stands out like a giant hand)…You will discover that its name is the same greek word for a hand with five fingers!

House in the stones

Now Pentadattilo backs to life thanks to the commitment of the Pro Pentedattilo association.

Now there is a bar, shops, a hostel and a popular hotel. Every year the Pentedattilo film fest brings international cinema operators to the scene. And many fans: usually from 26 to 31 August.

Etna volcano, a sight of Sicily from Aspromonte

WHERE STAY / LOCAL ARTISANS

You sleep in characteristic B&Bs or in hotel houses. Hospitality is often managed by local cooperatives.

Cascade of Maesano

The flavors of the kitchen awaken pastoral memories (such as “maccheruni” with goat sauce). Only in Bova it is possible to choose between seven restaurants. The ricotta is served almost hot, just made. Organic is a fact.

Greek-speaking village of Bova

The wooden or terracotta souvenirs are of fine craftsmanship, from the “pinakes“, the votive tablets that the Greeks printed in honor of Demetra, to the “musulupare“, carved wooden containers, with anthropomorphic forms, to shape the cheese.

Quiet Nature in Aspromonte

Artisans made them in Melito, near Condofuri.

Seafront of Melito

Along with collars for goats, bagpipes and old tools that are real pieces of art. Other local artists create delicious Greek madonnas with cherry, olive, medlar and chestnut branches.

The mysterious monolith “Pietra Cappa”

The ceramists elaborate Greekism in a contemporary key.

Reggio Calabria

In their workshops on the outskirts of Reggio Calabria they mold enchanting artifacts that tell stories and myths of the Grecanic area.

Castle Ruffo, near Amendolea and Condofuri

As the “fuitina d’u previte”: a love escape of a priest with a woman of Bova.

The designers in their small workshops in Delianuova (on the slopes of Aspromonte) realizes bijoux for high fashion with what nature offers: berries, leaves, pine cones, woods sea urchins, shells, starfish. Also citrus fruits, vine shoots, crystallized bread, hemp and hard stones. Land and sea become catwalk jewelry.

Delianuova in the Winter