This month the hills and fields of Pontelandolfo are a bustle of olive picking activity. Tis the season to make that luscious green-yellow oil that the Sannio Hills are known for.
Photo by Gabrielle Iacovella
Our village is chock full of ancient Ortice olive groves. For generations families have been harvesting their olives and either pressing the oil themselves or since the dawning of the 1900’s taking them to our local Frantoio Oleario Rinaldi – the olive oil mill owned by the Rinaldi family. Started by Giovanni Rinaldi, the oil mill has been managed by a Rinaldi for generations. Today’s managing director is Rocco Rinaldi. His sons Gianfranco and Sergio play active roles. The other role of Gianfranco’s is that of the mayor – sindaco – of Pontelandolfo. Sergio is a professional taster certified by the National Organization of Olive Oil Tasters in Italy.
My New Jersey tasters aren’t certified but love the heady aroma and flavor of Rinaldi’s Vantera brand oil. I had a case of Vantera – sent to New Jersey just in time for last Christmas. Today, one of the recipients asked if Santa’s Elves were shipping another case over this year. Hmmm, I wonder if she has been naughty or nice?
We are truly oil spoiled. Folks in Pontelandolfo who make their own oil, often store it in centuries old stone cisterns or vats. My happy oil dance just spins out of control when my pal Nicola takes the lid off his vat and scoops his fresh oil into a jar for me. YUMMY!
My first thought was to tell you all about how this great oil is made through a cold milling process. The oil is extracted through a “superdecanter” in the low-temperature, continuous plant.
My second thought is to simply go to the video –
Are you “jonesing” for a taste of our hometown olive oil? Taste some during our 2018 Cooking in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo sessions for adventuresome cooks!