During a 3-day trip visiting the best places of Western Liguria, I learned that olive oil can be found here in every recipe. I was really surprised each time I could taste it again in a meal I would never expect it. Olive oil was in abundance in Ligurian cuisine. We even found it in ice cream!!! It has been used because of its healthy properties and also to give a special flavour to meals.
Special olives that grow in Liguria are the Taggia Olive Trees – they differ from other olive kinds with their dark brown colour. Don’t get surprised if you get them on top of bacalao fish all the time (I have never seen fish with olives, but my mom would love that!)
Finale Ligure, a comune within Western Liguria, is not only known for sports and outdoor activities and Taggia olives, but also for extra virgin olive oil produced here. We were extremely lucky to be part of the process and find out how the olives grow and how to pick them to get the best olive oil.
entrance to Azienda Agricola Sacone
We learned all this and more in Azienda Agricola Sacone (situated at Via Sottochiesa II, Perti – Finale Ligure SV) where mother with her 2 sons cultivate taggiasca olive oil and also make white wine Lumassina, Vermentino, and red wine Tormellina.
Tormellina red wine
The two sons, Giuseppe and Bruno, gave us tour around the Azienda explaining the most important facts of picking up the olives and growing the best grapes. The Mediterranean climate helps a lot with the cultivation of both. We found out there also have to be other plants next to the grapes, such as roses, indicating the quality of the grapes.
grapes in Azienda Sacone
Then we moved to the olives learning how to get all the worms, flies and parasites before they destroy the olive trees. Surprisingly, we saw coke bottles hanging out from the olive trees! Yes, it’s what the Sacone family use to attract the destructors!
coke bottles for worms
Picking up olives
And then the funniest part of our visit began. A transparent glasses were distributed to all of us and looking like from the outer world, we were surrounded the olive trees to start picking up the olives.
with the protective glasses
Believe it or not, it was the first time ever I was so close to an olive tree as I don’t like olives and just their smell makes me sick sometimes. But I am a sucker for quality extra virgin olive oil and I cannot spend a day without it.
There’s a certain time to pick up the Taggia olives. As far as I understood, they have to be exact green colour just before they turn brown so those we picked were just to see the process of picking.
First, with the glasses on, you spread the nets around the olive tree. Then you point an electric stick to the branches and you will get bombarded by the olives everywhere around, hence the protecting glasses as it would not only hurt if they hit your eyes, but also the juice could damage them.
spreading out the nets
picking up olives with an electric stick
Now the hardest job is to make sure the person with the electric stick doesn’t step on the olives on the ground and that the others get all the olives inside the net. Then just dump all the olives into a basket and get rid of the leaves.
olives caught in the net
picked up olives
We did not finish the olive making process, just learned how to pick up the olives. It was time to see the whole house where the Sacone live. The Sacone family has been in Finale Ligure since 1386!
Check out the video from picking up olives:
After the hard work of picking up the olives and the tour around the old beautiful house, we could sit down and taste all the products the Sacone family makes and also other home-made products from the area. Pesto, Cultivar Taggiasca olive oil, bread, cheese, wine, different kinds of focaccia, marmelade, honey … and we were in 7th heaven!
quality extra virgin olive oil
focaccia with pesto
Literally, this was one of the tastest ”snacks” I have ever eaten in my life! Traditional Italian, and traditionally unhealthy too. But it proved the fact that Sacone family relies on the quality of olive oil and wine produced in their Azienda. It reminded me of the old times in my grandparents’ house back in Slovakia when we would eat together home-made products in summer months.
We even got a 100 ml bottle of extra virgin olive oil. It is of such a great quality that I use it instead of body lotion now
we got samples of Cultivar Taggiasca olive oil
Sacone family – Bruno, Giuseppe and their mother Maria
Alex is a crazy Slovak girl who made traveling the reason of her life. In March 2011 she quit her stewardess job and hasn't stopped ever since. Her motto is ''I live to travel, I travel to live.'' She writes about crazy travel, fun adventures and sexy photos.