The production process for our O.D.O. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
When the olives have ripened adequately they can be harvested. This is when the fascinating process begins whereby the olives become fragrant Extra Virgin Olive Oil D.O.P. Riviera Ligure Riviera dei Fiori.
In 2004, our family-run concern purchased 13 hectares of land hosting about 2,500 trees. The location is fairly impracticable. The area, located above Imperia, had been totally abandoned. This is where we grow our precious Taggiasca olives, also known as Cailletier olives, which is the raw material for our Extra Virgin Olive Oil D.O.P. Riviera Ligure-Riviera dei Fiori – a sweet-flavored olive oil with the aroma of almonds and the pine nut, typical of this place of origin.
To produce this precious olive oil, while we adopt advanced agronomic techniques, we also respect tradition fully.
On the one hand, the richness of the soil, the sun’s generosity, gentle breezes, rain, day and night temperature excursion; on the other, the expertise of artisans with considerable experience in deploying the latest techniques… and an extraordinary passion for the land and its fruits.
Join us as we unveil each of the working stages thanks to which an olive become olive oil − a delicate, but also complex, process.
Fall is the season when the work on olives starts up. This is the time of the year given over to harvesting.
If harvested while still unripe, certain organoleptic characteristics will be too marked. If too ripe, the fruits are vulnerable to parasites, and the nuances of taste of the oil blur and are rendered less distinct.
When they reach their ideal ripeness (half are green and the other half are black) the olives are ready for harvesting.
How do we harvest our olives? The traditional way. We lay large nets under the olive trees first and then use a next-generation electric harvest tool. This machine acts as a sort of rake that vibrates horizontally, ‘combing’ the foliage, or crown, in order to detach the olives from the branches without harming them.
We then use a leaf separating device, and save only the olives. We immediately transfer these to our oil mill for processing.
After being detached from the branches, the olives must be brought to the oil mill for processing as soon as possible. Storage of the olives for more than two days, or storage in sacks or poorly ventilated spaces, may be detrimental to the quality of the olive oil.
Commencement of processing
The olives are transferred from the olivaio (pre-processing storage unit) to the oil mill for the initial processing stage. In the oil mill, the processing cannot legally entail the adoption of chemical products or procedures. The conditions must be such as shall not alter the properties of the olive oil.
During the washing stage, the leaves are separated from the olives. The olives are carefully washed, with water to remove dust and foreign bodies.
This stage is followed by pressing. The olives are crushed by means of large millstones. The pulp thus produced is then subjected to a finishing process (by means of a mechanical cylinder oil mill).
From olive pulp to olive oil
Firstly, the olive pulp is slowly mixed for about 20 minutes. This facilitates release of the olive oil and aggregation of the drops of oil (the malaxation stage).
The pulp is then transferred to a decanter in which the liquid part (water/oil) is separated from the solid part (pomace) (extraction by means of decanter).
During the stage termed centrifugation, the liquid part that remains, which is still a mixture of water and olive oil, is centrifuged for final separation of these two elements.
We also conduct filtration, a natural straining process that not all oil mills undertake since it is costly. This process clarifies the olive oil and removes from the oil all impurities that may have ruinous effects.
The last oil processing stage is storage. The olive oil produced is then weighed, analyzed and stored in stainless steel containers at a constant temperature.
This stage, too, is crucial. The extra virgin olive oil must comply with the chemical and organoleptic parameters set by law. These characters are at risk even when the oil is awaiting sale. Odors, sudden changes of temperature, contact with oxygen and light, and the passing of time ‘on the shelf’ can all modify the olive oil’s aroma, flavor and color. Storerooms, containers and bottling times (nearly always decided with logistical considerations in mind) shall influence results.
Perhaps you didn’t know that...
The yield of olives varies from cultivar to cultivar, or according to the fruit’s ripeness and its amurca content. A kilo of olive pulp provides barely a glassful of olive oil. Seven kilos of olives are required to fill just one bottle of the kind we use every day in the kitchen.
“Ours is a family-run company, thanks to which our traditions, values and experience have been handed down on a daily basis over a span of four generations. These are our guidelines as we go about our business from one day to the next. The dreams and ambitions of us all − from the eldest to the youngest − provide the stimulus for planning a shared future, without ever forgetting our past. A sharing mentality shores up our passionate involvement in what we do. Things are not always so very easy, but the tough times are faced up to by us all. This holds true now, as it did when the very first bottle of Carli olive oil was sold a century ago. Our unflagging commitment to producing the very best oils remains to this day. We are convinced that the processing and the excellence of our olive oils are fully in keeping with our family’s entrepreneurial track record (quality, respect for our communities and the environment, transparency and a sense of responsibility). How else could I describe it, if not as unconditional love of what we do?”
Gian Franco Carli, CEO of Fratelli Carli
Discover the unique tastes of western Liguria, or Ponente Ligure. Discover our Extra Virgin Olive Oil Riviera Ligure-Riviera dei Fiori D.O.P. with its sweet, almond flavor and freshly fruity fragrance – the ideal condiment that will turn every recipe and dish into a triumph of the culinary art!