Oil & Vinegar

Calabria, The ‘green’ gold of Italy

Calabria ranks second of all Italian olive oil-producing regions and has a unique olive-growing portfolio in the world, comprising 33 olive cultivars

Calabria is an Italian region with a deep vocation. In this sector olive oil has had a long tradition dating back to well before the arrival of the first Greek settlers in the south (in the eighth century BC), to whom the introduction of olive-growing in Italy is attributed. Today olive cultivation is more or less extensively present throughout this region, from its coastal areas to the hills and the foothills of the inner land. An area of approximately 200,000 hectares, of which 170,000 hectares are dedicated to specialized production, is covered with olive plantations in Calabria. Roughly 10 million tonnes of olives are produced, which are subsequently transformed into 140,000 tonnes of olive oil (99% of the area planted with olive trees is destined for the production of olive oil, and the small residual rest to the production of table olives).

CALABRIAN GREEN GOLD – Calabria ranks second of all Italian olive oil-producing regions. Around 28% of domestic oil production comes from Calabria. The Calabrian “green gold” distinguishes itself for its deep colour, and its inimitable, slightly bitter, yet almost spicy taste. There are at least 33 cultivars forming a single olive heritage in terms of biodiversity, structural and productive dimensions. Some product names are as listed below: Borgese, Carolea, Cassanese Lauropoli, Cerchiara, Chianota, Ciciarello, Corniola di Villapiana, Razza, Dolce di Rossano, Fecciaro, Fidusa, Grossa di Cassano, Grossa di Gerace, Mafra Cerchiara, Melitana, Miseo, Napoletana, Nostrana di Amendolara, Ottobratica, Pargolea , Pennulara, Perciasacchi, Policastrese, Pugliasca, Rezza, Roggianella, Santomauro, Sinopolese, Squillaciota, Tombarello, Tonda di Strongoli, Tondina, Zinrifarica. Carolea is the oldest and most representative regional variety. It is cultivated in all five provinces of Calabria, yet is most diffused in Catanzaro. The oils of this variety are characterized by a medium olfaction of fruity green olives and slight traces of fresh grass and fruit, especially apple, sensations of grass/leaf and artichoke, with reference to tomatoes and fresh almonds. A bitter note dominates the taste, together with more dulled spicy and sweet flavours, of bitter almond and walnut. With the publication of the definite application for the registration as “IGP OLIO DI CALABRIA” in the official Journal of the EU (C 304/08), one of the most symbolic products of Calabrian agriculture has at last become part of the excellence of European agro-food. A vitally important result for Calabria, which is also expected to mark a springboard for obtaining the desired results during the marketing stage with the production numbers, to promote the enfranchisement of its quality oil and to penetrate the retail channel.

CALABRIA GOES ORGANIC – The greatly appreciated and noteworthy Calabrian organic olive production needs to be mentioned for its positive effects on health and on the territory. More than 35% of organic productions originate in Calabria. About 40% of the land dedicated to Pdo/Pgi cultivations is related to olive production, according to the sixth census data in agriculture.

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