O is for Olive Pisciottane:
The olives of Pisciotto, Salerno are possibly the oldest olive variety in Italy. This ancient olive comes from a medieval town that dates back to at least 900 A.D, when it was called Pixote and later Buxentum. Today, in the Cilento e Vallo di Diano National Park, numerous olive varieties are grown and produced into many varieties of olive oils. The extra virgin olive oil of Cilento, made from Pisciottano olives together with other varieties from the park (Rotondella, Ogliarola, Frantoio, Salella and Leccino), attained DOP status in 1998. The high quality of this oil is often said to be from the organic growing, cultivation and production methods that are employed in the entire park. Following strict guidelines can be restrictive, but they have also proven to be beneficial, leading to new innovations and technologies in olive tree cultivation and the production process. The Pisciottano olive tree grows to a tall 12 meters in the southern section of the park in the two areas of Mt. Gelbison and Bulgheria. The extra virgin olive oils are known for their aromatic compounds with a slightly bitter finish.
In addition to top quality DOP olive oils, the Pisciottano olives are used in a dish called Olive Pisciottane sott’olio, a recipe with roots so strong that it dates back before recipe books were being published – that is, as long as anyone in Pisciotto can remember. The recipe calls for green (fresh) Pisciottano olives immersed in water with lime and ashes for two days, before washing, rinsing and steeping them in salt and bay leaves for another day. The olives are then laid out and squashed until the pits fall from the fruit. Then, mashing the olives further with one’s hands, they are stuffed into glass jars full of pepperoncino, spices, herbs and olive oil – made from the Pisciottano olive, of course.
Locanda Pelinuro Agriturismo
84066 Pisciotta (Salerno)
Via Passariello, 2
Marina di Pisciotta (Salerno)
Ristoranti I Tre Gufi
Via Roma 1, Pisciotta (Salerno)
O is for Ocone Agricola del Monte:
Ocone Agricola del Monte resides in the heart of Ponte in Benevento, a town that was called Sannio in antiquity. In the early 1900s, Benevento was a center of agricultural development, particularly in wine techniques. The Ocone family has been producing wine since 1910. In the 1930s, the family utilized the area’s first refrigeration and bottling line operation. The wine was quickly popular in Benevento, perhaps due to the focus on more drinkable, “mass-produced” tendencies. However, the focus from easy drinkability to higher quality changed definitively in the 1960s, when owner Luigi Ocone introduced modern wine-making technologies, employed more restrictive selection and capped yield quantities.
Today, the winery employs organic viticulture and has expanded to experimental, biodynamic viticulture as well, which are intense organic methods that rely on as many natural forms of care-taking and cultivation as possible. Ocone Agricola del Monte is a member of the Italian Association for Organic Farming (AIAB).
The focus of this winery has shifted from average- to high quality wines, and today, to fine-tuning and enhancing their wines and expanding internationally. 10 of 12 hectares of its vineyards have DOC appellation, and different sections of soils are selected for their distinct characteristics that are best for growing specific grape varieties. For example, the limestone composition is ideal for Aglianico cru, and the tuff soil is perfect for growing Falanghina. The Ocone Agricola has also produced the first Campanian sparkling wine: Spumante Ocone Extra Brut.
Finally, the value of tradition and history to the prestige and quality of a wine are not lost to Ocone. They have, for example, a wine named Diomede in dedication to the mythical founder of Benevento; another called Calidonio Piedirosso, the name of the mythical wild boar, a symbol of Benevento; and the classic line depicts early Roman deities and figures. For example, the Cerere Coda di Volpe, Plutone Piedirosso, and Giano Greco represent Ceres, Pluto and Janus. They also have a Superior line of wines, IGT wines, and two styles of Grappa made from Aglianico.
Vineyard Adventures is happy to arrange tours to discover Ocone Agricola del Monte.
Campania Wines. Ocone 1910.
The medieval village of Pisciotta. Residenza: Golfo degli Ulivi.
L’olio extravergine d’oliva Cilento DOP. Tipicilento.
Olive Oil Guide. La Cucina Italiana.
Olive Pisciottane schiacciate sott’olio. In Campania.
Ocone. Polaner Selections.
PDO Extra-virgin Olive Oils. Cilento Experience. Italy as an Italian.
Soracco, Diego, et al. Guida agli Extravergini 20011. Slow Food Editore. Bra (Cn): Italy 2011.