Adventures in Umbria… Cashmere, Prosecco & Olive Oil

Time for a little shopping… I managed to find something very cool for #1 daughter that I know no one else will have at her salon! (The challenge of having to wear black every day at work!) It came with a little pretend Italian passport, so it’s got to be authentic!  Also found a beautiful sweater for my son, Liam, hopefully purple is on his list of approved colours?

Maria and JoAnne both fared well with their purchases, too!

Next, we went on to Terni for a walk and lunch at a busy enoteca…

On our way back to the palazzo in Amelia, we stopped at an olive mill, Frontoio Reggia dell’Olio, just on the outskirts of town.

We were welcomed with a tour by the owner, Marano Amintore Ventini and two of his farm workers. We enjoyed a tasting of their oil (delicate, buttery) made with Raio olives, the typical Umbrian olive that has been grown in Amelia for over 900 years. Tray after tray of bruschetta, baked in the fireplace in the mill and soaked with their delicious oil was enjoyed by all. The olive grove and mill have been in the family for over 300 years, and the owner continues with the production as a ‘hobby’, while working in international shipping. We discussed bringing the oil into the store in Merrickville for sale and plan to begin importing it at the next harvest in November.

The owner and I had a lively discussion about the merits of olive oil grown in Sicily and Puglia – as opposed to the preferred climate, in his opinion, of Amelia – cooler, mountainous, more temperate terroir. Of course he is fiercely loyal to his region, as all Italians tend to be! His opinion was that the excessive heat of the south concentrates the fat in the olives, making the oil heavier. Umbrian oil does have a distinct character, and is much more delicate, with very little pepper in the finish.

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