Venetian Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of the DOP oils of Italy (DOP is the equivalent of PDO). Extra virgin olive oil is the highest-quality olive oil in the market: it contains more vitamins and minerals (compared to other oils) and thus it is valuable for our health. It has also been found to be effective against heart diseases, cancer, hig blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis and Alzheimer. Is there something more to say?
Olive growing in the Veneto was probably introduced by Roman settlers. The early written records however date back to the Middle Ages. First in the properties inventory (1263) of the cruel tyrant Ezzelino da Romano. The inventory includes in fact some olive trees in the Vicenza area. Another record dates back to 1352, when Ildebrandino, bishop of Padua, giving the investiture to the priest of Pove Del Grappa, offered him 15 olive trees and two plots of land. Very interesting is the fact that in the inventory of the next century (1431) those trees are still appointed. Another testimony (1500) narrates that the oil from Verona was beloved by all the great lords for their salad dressings. Ah those pioneer foodies! 🙂
Over the centuries, olives cultivation has faced ups and downs. Appreciated by the ecclesiastical community as food, fuel for lighting and for the cult, it has also coped with periods of recession. One of the factors of the crisis was climate changes (unfortunately this still happens). In 1764 for example, only 15 minutes of hailstorm ruined the harvest for years in the Grappa area. Another cause of decline was the decision of farmers to replace olives with other more profitable cultivations. In 1800 the spread of vine and mulberry caused the closure of many mills. Some recovery occurred after the two world wars. Nowadays farmers are still struggling: High maintenance costs, Xylella bacterium in Puglia and unfair competitors (some big companies trying to pass off simple olive oil as extra virgin). More than ever we must pay attention to what we buy.
Venetian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
In Veneto there are 3 different DOP oils (recognized in 2001 by the EU), each of them suitable for consumption both raw and cooked:
- The extra virgin olive oil Veneto “Valpolicella” DOP, yellow coloured with slight green hue, fruity with a slight bitterness and musky aftertaste. It is produced in the area that extends to the right side of the Adige (Verona).
- The extra virgin olive oil Veneto “Euganei e Berici” DOP, with an intense green-gold colour and fruity taste with slight bitterness. The production areas are the Berici (Vicenza) and the Euganean Hills (Padova).
- The extra virgin olive oil Veneto “Del Grappa” DOP green-gold coloured, fruity with sensation of bitterness. It is produced in the band of hillsides of the provinces of Vicenza and Treviso.
The disciplinary which regulates the production of Venetian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (and of the olives from which the oils are extracted) is very rigid, to ensure the consumer about the origin and quality of the product. To join the consortium as producers:
- the farmers must pass strict controls
- the olive harvest must be concluded by January 15 each year
- the fruits must be harvested by hand using rakes directly from the plant
- from harvesting to milling must only pass a few hours, so that the product does not suffer any alteration.
To recognize the Venetian oil DOP must pay attention to the label. Besides the words “Veneto Valpolicella”, “Veneto Euganei e Berici” or “Veneto Del Grappa”, there must be the Veneto shaped label and the DOP official trademark of the European Community.
For further information about Venetian Extra Virgin Olive Oil go to www.olio.venetodop.it
Cover photo by stevepb @pixabay.com
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