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Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils from Sicily

Our online shop OliveOilsItaly offers you a large selection of cold-pressed olive oils from Sicily. Enjoy top quality from renowned extra virgin olive oil producers such as Cutrera, Agrestis, Disisa, Titone or Mandranova.

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Which dishes go best with olive oil from Sicily?

Olive oils from Sicily are characterized by their distinctly fruity taste. This ranges from medium to intensely fruity. This is accompanied by aromas of herbs, artichokes and green tomatoes. These taste properties make olive oil from Sicily an excellent condiment for rich soups made from legumes such as lentil or pea soup. It also gives grilled vegetables or fish and hearty meat dishes a special, fresh and tart note.

Simply stir a few drops of Sicilian olive oil into the soup just before serving or dribble over the vegetables, meat or fish. Of course, olive oil from Sicily is also ideal for salad dressings and bruschetta. Last but not least, it is an indispensable part of the Pesto alla Trapanese, a variant of the well-known Pesto Genovese. The latter became known through seamen from Genoa in Trapani, who docked in this western Sicilian port city. Trapanese housewives and cooks supplemented the recipe with local ingredients - mainly almonds and tomatoes - and of course used olive oil from the region. Enjoy your meal!

Excellent olive oil producers from Sicily

Frantoi Cutrera

In the beautiful hilly landscape around Chiaramonte Gulfi (province of Ragusa) the Frantoi Cutrera has been dedicated for about a century the production of extra virgin olive oils. The basis for this is the fruit from the 50 hectares olive groves at an altitude of 400 meters.

The absolute top product from Cutrera is Extra Vergine Primo DOP Monti Iblei, multiple test winner in olive oil competitions in Italy and abroad. In 2014 alone, the oil obtained exclusively from the Tonda Iblea variety received first prize at the IOOA Zurich and the "tre foglie" (three leaves) in the extra virgin guide of the Gambero Rosso. In total, the work of Frantoi Cutrera has been rewarded with 150 awards in just 13 years.

Agrestis olive oil

A little further east, in the massif of the Monti Iblei, is the olive oil producer Agrestis. The 50 hectares company founded by Pino and Lorenzo in 2003 has around 6000 trees. They grow at around 650 meters above sea level around the small village of Buccheri not far from Syracuse. Out of their fruits excellent single-variety olive oils such as Nettar Ibleo DOP Monti Iblei and blends like the Extra Vergine Bell'Omio, both from organic farming. The latter was among the test winners at the Oil Award by Der Feinschmecker in 2012 and 2016 and won the gold medal at BIOL International.

Mandranova, Titone, Disisa: Sicilian oil mills with tradition

On the other hand, the olive oils of the other three top producers that we present on this website come from other parts of the island: Mandranova is based in Palma de Montechioro in the province of Agrigento in south-west Sicily. The company produces exclusively single-variety olive oils. His monocultivars from Nocellara and Cerasuola have won multiple gold medals at NYIOOC and the Corona of the Maestro d'Oro. The products of the producers Titone from Locogrande near Trapani in the far west of the island and Disisa from the province of Palermo in the north have already emerged as test winners from renowned olive oil competitions several times.

You can find producers and their products here.

Olives cultivation: millennia-old cultural tradition

The origins of olive growing in Sicily can be traced back at least 2,800 years. It was probably introduced by Greek settlers who at that time colonized the island from the coast. They founded cities like Syracuse or Agrigento, built numerous temples and amphitheaters and spread the cultivation of grapevines and olives. Olive cultivation has had an eventful history under the numerous powers that ruled the island in the centuries that followed. It experienced a real heyday in the 400 years in which Sicily was ruled by the Spanish Habsburgs. During this time, Benedictine and Cistercian monks introduced the oil mill, later followed by several technical innovations. Today the island has 521 olive oil producers.

Olives and olive harvest

Plantation of olive trees in Sicily

How much extra virgin olive oil is actually produced in Sicily?

Although olive trees grow practically all over the island, Sicily only contributes about a tenth of total Italian production: in 2017 it will be only 9% with 22,400 tons of olive oil, despite an increase of 60 % compared to the previous year (2016 was one of the lowest harvest volumes in years). So Sicily is among the Italian regions - as in previous years - just behind the neighboring Calabria; however, both rank well behind Apulia, which with 51% contributes more than half of the total Italian production!

When and how are olives harvested in Sicily, and what varieties are there?

Thanks to its climate, which is determined by long, warm summers and relatively short, mild winters, the olive harvest on the island begins earlier than on the mainland: it falls there between October and December with a focus on November. The first olives are harvested in Sicily in September, the main harvest time follows in October.

The olives are harvested partly by hand, partly by machine: in the first case, the fruits are either picked directly from the tree or removed from the branches with combs or rakes and caught in nets previously spread out on the ground. For mechanical harvesting, special machines are used that shake the trees. Another traditional harvesting method is imitated, the so-called brucatura, in which one strikes the branches of the olive trees with long sticks.

The range of olive varieties from which extra virgin olive oil is obtained is broad in Sicily: above all, Cerasuola, Moresca , Nocellara Etnea and Nocellara del Belice as well as Tonda Iblea.

The oils obtained from them are characterized by a pronounced fruitiness, paired with fresh tart to piquant aromas. This makes them ideal for salads, vegetable and mushroom dishes, for marinating fish and for seasoning soups and meat dishes.

Olive oils from Sicily with IGP and DOP seals

IGP olive oil Sicily, DOP olive oil Sicily

Similar to wines and other foods (e.g. Parmesan cheese), there are also Protected Designations of Origin of the EU for extra virgin olive oil, with which producers vouch for the quality and origin of their products.

On the one hand the Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP), in english Protected Designation of Origin, PDO for short, on the other hand the Indicazione Geografica Protetta (IGP), in english Protected Geographical Indication, PGI. They can be recognized by the round, red-yellow or blue-yellow seal of the EU. In the case of products with the DOP seal, all production steps from cultivation and processing to manufacture and packaging must take place in a specific geographical area and according to a specified procedure. For IGP products, it is sufficient if only one of the three steps takes place in a specific area of ​​origin.

There are a total of seven designations of origin for olive oil in Sicily. In addition to the comprehensive Sicilia IGP, which is for all extra virgin from Sicily, there are six narrower DOP - protected designations of origin. They apply to the growing areas: Valli Trapanesi, Monti Iblei, Valle di Mazara, Monte Etna, Valdemone and Valle del Belice.

The olive oils from the named regions of origin differ in terms of color, smell and taste, especially the degree of fruitiness and the spiciness or spice.

Monti Iblei: Sicilian olive oil with DOP seal

We want to take a closer look at one of these growing areas, the DOP Monte Iblei. It is named after the mountain range of the same name, which takes up almost the entire south-east of the island and reaches over 900 meters with Monte Lauro and two other peaks. The mountains rise above an extensive plateau in which Anapo, Irminio, Dirillo and other rivers carved deep gorges. With its calcareous marl soils, the region offers excellent growth conditions for the olive. Permeable soils and thus good drainage in addition to a mild, sunny climate are the basic prerequisites for their reliable growth.

The main variety in the Monti Iblei growing area is the Tonda Iblea, which is characterized by its intensely fruity aromas reminiscent of green tomatoes and fresh herbs. Other important olive varieties are Moresca and Nocellara.

Here in Monte Iblei are Frantoi Cutrera and Agrestis, two of "our" olive oil producers.

Organic Olive Oils from Sicily

As for all products from certified organic cultivation, also applies to organic olive oils from Sicily: any use of phosphate fertilizers, pesticides and chemical additives is strictly prohibited. The production of organic extra virgin olive oil also takes place after the harvest in special plants in which the organic olives are processed separately from those from conventional cultivation. Products from certified organic cultivation are easily recognizable by the organic seal of the EU, a stylized leaf in white on a green background.

In Sicily, more and more olive oil producers are converting cultivation and production entirely or partially to an organic basis. The Azienda Agricola Titone, which has been dedicated to organic cultivation since 1992, is undoubtedly one of the pioneers. Nowadays, their organic olive oils make up 60% of the total production of around 10,000 liters of extra virgin.

The extra virgin olive oils obtained from the varieties Nocellara del Belice, Cerasuola and Biancolilla are bottled under the labels Olio extravergine Titone Dop Valli Trapanesi Biologico and Olio extravergine Titone Biologico. The latter received two important awards: Extra Gold at BIOL International and the coveted “Drei Blätter” from Gambero Rosso.

Agrestis from the Monti Iblei can also offer several organic products. First and foremost are the Nettar Ibleo Dop Monti Ibleo, an organic olive oil made purely from the Tonda Iblea variety, and the Organic Bell'Omio. The organic extra virgin came out 2015 as the test winner at BIOL and achieved 2nd place at the Oil Award by Der Feinschmecker.

Cutrera on the other hand offers with its Extra Vergine Primo Bio a single variety olive oil from organic cultivation. The oil, which is only pressed from the Tonda Iblea variety, always lands at the top of international competitions, most recently it was awarded the special "Best Organic" prize at the IOOA in Zurich.

You can find an overview of all organically produced olive oils in our range and further information on certified organic cultivation here

Do you know what extra virgin olive oil means?

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