Our olive oil
A UNIQUE OLIVE OIL
Our olive oil is exceptional because of the unique characteristics of the place where it is produced. In fact, the olive trees are nourished by the mineral present in abundance in the tuff rock on which they majestically stand.
The location endows the olives and the olive oil with an unexpected harmony although Nocellara del Belice, Cerasuola and Biancolilla are characterized by marked notes of organoleptic strength, typical of Sicilian varieties.
Centonze olive oil, a pure and ideal food for enhancing the flavours of Mediterranean cuisine, is characterized by its green colour, fruity fragrance, and rich, complex aromatic composition.
These qualities have made the company winner of numerous national and international awards. In May, 2015 Centonze was recognized with the prestigious Slow Food Presidium of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Olive cultivation has always been an integral part of the history of the people of Belice, beginning in the 7th century B.C. when Selinunte, the oldest and largest colony of Magna Graecia in the west, was constructed. In those times, the ‘Selinuntini’ (the people of Selinunte) cultivated and spread olive trees throughout the valley. They also extracted the olive oil, a practice demonstrated by millstones dating from the 5th century B.C., found in the archaeo-olive area of our ‘Latomie’.
This is how olive oil and history intertwine, and how our company can now boast several indigenous varities: Nocellara del Belìce, Cerasuola and Biancolilla.
Nocellara del Belice
The only Italian olive among more than 550 varieties that stands out for receiving two P.D.O. designations: for olive oil and table olives. This olive is characterized by its excellent pulp/kernel ratio and moderate sugar content. The drupe resembles a walnut and sometimes reaches very large dimensions, its colour an intense green that changes to vinous red with ripening. The crunchy pulp and slightly sweet and sour taste make this olive a true queen among table varieties. Its olive oil has a medium-intense fruity taste and today it is considered one of the best and most easily stored olive oils, boasting a shelf life rivalled by few others.
Among the most widely cultivated varieties in Sicily, it is grown mainly throughout the northwestern area of the island. Its olives yield an extra virgin olive oil with an intense fruity taste, characterized not only by its rather strong fragrance with bitter, spicy notes, but also by how it varies according to when the olives are harvested. If harvested while still green, the olive oil is very intense with hints of artichoke and grass, whereas if harvested when ripe, the resulting olive oil has a softer, more balanced flavour.
One of the oldest varieties in the Sicilian olive groves, ‘Biancolilla’ is also among the most widespread. It owes its peculiar name to the ripening phase, when the typical greenish-white colour of the still unripe fruit quickly gives way to a shade of red tending toward purple. This self-fertile species does not require pollination by other varieties, which is why it is often used as a pollinator for the ‘Nocellara del Belice’, a variety that is self-sterile.
Biancolilla olive oil is known for being delicate on the palate. It is a medium-light fruity “par excellence” olive oil with its straw-yellow colour and golden nuances. It is very fluid with an aftertaste of fresh grass and just-picked olives. By virtue of these characteristics, it is suitable for refining intense and spicy olive oils, typical of other varieties, and when freshly pressed, it is excellent for seasoning foods such as fish without altering the flavour.
FROM HARVEST TO BOTTLING
Where it all begins: The Harvest
The harvest is that delicate moment when it’s finally possible to pick the fruits obtained through prior careful tilling of the soil and the pruning of the trees, which takes place in February by skilled hands who perform careful techniques handed down from generation to generation.
Beginning around the 20th of September and throughout October, the harvest can stretch until the end of November and beyond depending on the climatic conditions and the quantity of olives. To ensure that the quality of the olive oil is not compromised, the harvest always takes place during what is considered the ideal time according to the variety and altitude of the olive groves.
The best olives are picked by hand and cold pressed to become olive oil in the modern olive oil mill within four hours.
From the tree to the mill: Conferment and Cleaning
After the harvest, the olives are transported to the olive oil mill in special perforated baskets that safeguard their properties. Here, they are prepared for milling, cleaned with cold water, and passed onto vibrating grates to eliminate all impurities.
The Olive Oil is born: The press
Turning the olives into olive oil takes place in three stages: crushing, kneading and extraction. In our Vitone V4 continuous cycle system, the first phase is carried out by a hammer crusher, which violently crushes the olives on a perforated cylinder, reducing them to a paste.
Then, through kneading, the olive paste is crushed and refined to a uniform consistency to prepare for the extraction. During extraction, it is passed into a centrifuge called decanter. During all these stages, special care is taken so that the temperature never exceeds 27 ° C.
Only through this method can a true cold-pressed olive oil be obtained.
Finally, after a few days of natural settling, filtration takes place.
Green Gold: Storage and Bottling
Once filtered, to preserve the olive oil’s qualities, it is stored in stainless steel containers under nitrogen, and maintained at a constant temperature until bottled. Bottling always takes place under a nitrogen atmosphere, ensuring the best product storage conditions.