Extra virgin olive oil: Earth’s gold
“And there / In / The dry / Olive groves / Where / Alone / The blue sky with cicadas / And the hard earth / Exist / There / The prodigy / The perfect / Capsules / Of the olives / Filling / With their constellation, the foliage / Then later, / The bowls, / The miracle, / The olive oil” – Pablo Neruda
Undisputed protagonist of the Mediterranean diet, the extra virgin olive oil is one of the food that best represents the Marche region.
A region where the hills are full of centuries-old olive trees, which grow luxuriant and proud thanks to the temperate climate.
Olive cultivation in Marche has ancient origins. There are traces of it already in 1228, when the Marche’s ships had to pay a duty in extra-virgin olive oil to land on the Po river. The Marche oil was so appreciated that even the Florentines imported it, as highlighted by some documents dated back to 1347.
Together with wine and wheat, oil has been for centuries the main riches of the Marche. It’s a very famous and appreciated product, which boasts great quality, thanks also to a rich agricultural biodiversity – there are 22 native varieties that are combined with a base of Frantoio and Leccino: Ascolana dura, Ascolana tenera, Capolga, Carboncella, Cornetta, Coroncina, Lea , Mignola, Nebbia del Menocchia, Nostrale di Rigali, Oliva Grossa, Orbetana, Faloneone's Plantone, Mogliano's Piantone, Raggia, Raggiola, Colli Esini's Rosciola, Sargano di Fermo, Sargano di San Benedetto, Carbò, Zampello, Sarganella.
Among these, Ascolana is certainly the most representative and well known: not only because of its excellent oil, but also because it’s the basic ingredient of Olive all’Ascolana, fried olive filled up with meat, a typical dish from Marche now known in the world.
A frantoian tradition, made by small plants and avant-garde production, which gave rise to an excellent olive oil, awarded internationally. This land boasts a regional PDO (protected designation of origin), the one of Cartoceto, and an PGI (protected geographical indication) obtained in 2017. The Marche region, with about thirty localities, is in the network of Città dell’Olio – oil towns – which promotes the Italian olive tradition.