The Hill Of Olives
It is more common to imagine the Italian hills full of vineyards, but if you travel to Basilicata, in the South, you’ll be amazed by the quantity of olives trees. So let’s experience some local production with the Ferrandina baked olives
⏱ 4 MINUTES READING
IN THE PLATE
80% is the part of the hills around Matera which are cultivated with only olives trees. For baked olives production the variety Majatica is the more suited thanks to the great proportion between pulp and pit.
The process is as follows: it starts with a short boiling of the olives in 90°C water to remove the bitter taste, then they are dry salted for a couple of days. The semi-dried olives are then placed on racks with destination dryer at 50°C to complete the “cooking”.
This technique allows the olives to emphasize the taste, preserving at the same time the delicate notes of Majatica variety.
CANESTRATO DI MOLITERNO IGP
As original as the olives is also the Canestrato di Moliterno, the real one, the IGP one. By tasting it you’ll notice how these two fellow villagers talk the same dialect.Two defined tastes that tell the story of a terroir.
They ask only a minimum of wine humidity to be happily ever after, but for this last part I leave to Enrico the serve.
Honour the sun and seasons. Timing is crucial as nature always remind us, by giving us back an irreplaceable value in taste. We became impatient, often greedy with nature and this not without paying a price.
So, let’s try to start again with fennel, since now it is its time. Cut it in fine slices, carpaccio style, then fry it in a pan only with lemon juice for 2 minutes, time enough to soften it. Let it cool and join it with strawberry, walnuts, mint, honey and of course, baked olives.
Can you feel the sun on your face?
You got by hand a cup full of baked olives and you’d like to enrich them?
Good, chop julienne style a few orange zest stripes, eliminating the white part from it. Chop it with capers, garlic and lauriel, percentages at will.
Add this mix to a lemon and olive oil emulsion. Sprinkle everything on the olives and enjoy your aperitivo! WELCOME BACK ,COLD PASTA!
For this recipe, start by ordering for yourself a kilo and half of patience, once you got it go to unpit the olives one by one.
If you have some spare patience left, cut with knife: olives, garlic, pine nuts (better if you toast them before) basil, parsley, chilli and very little salt. Season your cold pasta helping yourself with some olive oil.
If you are not ready for cold pasta, no worries: while cooking, when pasta almost reached the perfect consistency move it to a pan and finish to cook it there with some of the pasta water and the sauce. I have to admit, in both versions I’ve priced myself with some drops of Colatura di Alici (anchovies extract), it was delicious!
Matteo De Santi
IN THE GLASS
I must admit that at the beginning the pairing with this product, as intense in taste as difficult to be found, scared me a little.
However, after an aperitif with a bag of olives, the ideas came out. Bon Voyage!
AGLIANICO DEL VULTURE ROSATO
The regional pairing is an obsession for me but I am also convinced that often going far brings you to the starting point.
It is true that in this case the vine can be frightening, but don’t stop at first appearances. Aglianico, in its rosè version, becomes more accessible and eclectic.
I paired this wine to the baked olive for its smoky character, the savory taste coming from the volcanic soils in which it grows and for the roundness necessary to ease the sapidity of the food.
ABRUZZO PECORINO DOC
In this case, however, we try to look at pairings from another point of view, but trying to keep the roundness as a guide: the olive in the mouth is distinctly sapid and needs to be controlled.
Moreover, the balsamic and mediterranean character will harmoniously match with olive. I imagine this wine well paired with the cold pasta suggested by Matteo, are we waiting for summer?
I don’t want to scare you, but this was the first pairing I thought about, before the others. After a first chewing, the olive releases hydrocarbon aromas, and what better companion than a Riesling from Moselle to emphasize these hints?
The oiliness and sapidity of the olive will be counterbalanced by the acidity and softness that usually characterize these wines. I would also risk pairings with versions with a slight residual sugar.
As usual, I asked Stefano for help for a high-grade suggestion and in this episode he decided to take me to Scotland.
Cocktail based on Scotch Whiskey and Drambuie, it will find a happy marriage with the baked olive for its round and intense taste, the aromas of spices and honey. Compatible both for the aperitif and for the after dinner, as well as the olives.
Ah, I almost forgot, peaty or not as you like, and remember the ice!
ALTRO IN CANTINA?
Since I think the combination with the baked olive can provoke more than a debate, I am sure that the wines suggested above may not convince you.
In general, however, I would look for wines with good roundness, with a perceptible acidity and, why not, a slight residual sugar.
Enrico De Conto