Making the donuts ( o rendendo l'olio di olive )

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Making the olive oil.

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? It’s not. Well, it IS an industrial process. BUT it does produce a heavenly, romantic, sensual product. So why quibble, right? Non importa.

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We went to the Oleficio Piccinini today. Our olives had already been delivered and rendered earlier, so our guide (and neighbor) Bob took us just to see the process. The fruit of our work was already at home.

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It’s not unlike a modern printing press: you have to schedule time on the press so that your olives are pressed on their own, and not tainted by your neighbor’s inferior growth. The Bruno family olives here are– I’m sure– perfectly fine.

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Olives go into a big hopper where they are separated from the leaves and other detritus. They are fed into a masher– in the picture, three mashers are going at once, with three different batches of olives– each are identified by name. Oh– and I’m sure they’re not called “mashers,” but that’s what they do. The mash is then fed into a centrifuge, which extracts all the water and somehow miraculously does not eliminate the oil.

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It comes out and some old Italian gentleman bottles it– either in your own huge stainless steel cask, or your raffia-wrapped jereboam or whatever you happen to have. They’re not picky.

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 Oleficio Piccenini has won numerous awards for their olive oil. And you’ll see them when you deliver your olives. You’ll know the awards because they’re covered in dust and stuck haphazardly into machinery that looks like it could take a finger off.

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This is a picture of an old “cold press” on the walls of  Oleficio Piccenini. There are still cold presses around, but our friend and guide Bob, who formerly designed and maintained canning equipment for CocaCola (so he knows his manufacturing shit) far prefers the method we saw today. Much more efficient, and he likes the product better. And the product…

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It doesn’t suck, no.

Ciao.

 

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