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’.
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.
OUR VARIETIES: NOCELLARA DEL BELICE, CERASUOLA, BIANCOLILLA
Thetypical cultivars of our territory of the Belice Valley have different cultivated varieties of olive oil.