The virtues of extra virgin olive oil are simply too many to list: flavourful, healthy, traditional, and above all tasty. Since your plane approach Puglia or as soon as you drive in from the neighbouring regions of Basilicata or Campania, you immediately realise that olive trees dominate the landscape and the economy of most of the region.
In Aristotele´s times, removing an olive tree was punishable with death, and some of these magnificent trees might be (or at least we like to imagine it…) old enough to remember the battle between the Roman legions and Hannibal´s elephants which took place in these plains 23 centuries ago.
The prized fruits of these noble trees are carefully collected in mid Autumn and anciently brought to underground donkey-powered mills carved into limestone underneath ancient "masserie", typical 17th century farmhouses, in some cases fortified with turrets, embattlements and moats and currently either abandoned or transformed in magnificent resorts like Masseria Bosco in Avetrana.
The ideal introduction to appreciate the kaleidoscopic characteristics of top-quality extra virgin olive oil is a friendly dinner in the masseria´s restaurant nested deep into olive trees and vines plantations, a handful of kilometres from the magnificent sandy beaches of the WWF reserve “Salina Monaci”. The core business of the family is olive oil production, thanks to a vast plantation of over 100.000 trees, state-of-the-art facilities supporting the needs of over 600 associated small farmers, and in-depth knowledge of the peculiarities of the different types of olives, like Cellino, Coratina, the fish-shaped Pecholin, Leccino, Nociara, each endowed with specific flavour from mild to spicy or “fruttato” (fruity), as we say in Italian.
We can actually say that the locals “go with the wind” to choose the best spots for an afternoon swim & beach picnic, which we paired with a delightful Chardonnay “ Era” by Bosco family winery. Follow us to more discoveries in magnificent Puglia by Cook & Meet !