Sabina Extra Virgin Olive Oil was an Italian staple nearly 2000 years ago. And still remains a favorite in Lazio.Here’s why.
A Brief History of Sabina Olive Oil
It may sound a cliché but little has changed in terms of olive farming in Sabina (just north of Rome) since the ancient world. Renowned since antiquity, Sabina’s extra virgin olive oil has been produced by the inhabitants of the area since 7th Century B.C – that’s way before Romans started to expand and conquer its neighbors! Yes, Sabina olive oil farming is that old!
Once Sabina became part of the Roman Republican in 295 B.C., Sabina’s olive oil was transported to Rome down the Tiber River and has pretty much become a Roman staple ever since. Ah the beauty of tradition.
Olive farming is still well and alive in the hilly valleys of Sabina and remains quite a well-known area for day trips for Romans!
Did you know?
Sabina was the first olive oil to gain the prestigious PDO certification (Protected Designation of Origin) in 1996.
If you don’t know what PDO is, it’s a pretty big deal in Italy. Read about “DOP certified” here.
Even briefer history of Sabina olive oil!
The oldest olive tree in Europe is located right in Sabina! In the village of Canneto to be exact. The tree is over a 1000 years old and is 7 meters wide in circumference! It produces almost 1000 kilos of olives every year! Now that is what we call long-standing Italian tradition!
Legend has it…
Galen, the Roman physician of Greek origin who is considered as father of medicine, recommended the use of Sabina olive oil as the “best in the world” for preparing medicinal treatments.That’s some tasty medicine!
How Is Olive Oil Made?
Sabina extra virgin olive oil is made from a mix of a number of locally grown olive varieties.
If you didn’t know olives had names, let us introduce you:
Carboncella, Leccino, Frantoio, Pendolino, Moraiolo, Raja, Olivastrone, Salviana, Olivago, Rosciola
But… it’s the carboncella olive which makes Sabina olive oil so special.
Why? Because carboncella olives are difficult to find outside the Sabina area so you can be sure the taste is truly local and belongs to this territory (hence the PDO/DOP certificiation) and of course because of its taste!
What does Sabina Olive Oil taste like?
Sabina olive oil has a fruity aroma, velvety texture, bittersweet flavor, slightly peppery taste and a very low acidity.
How do farmers use it?
Farmers and their families use the oil all year round for everyday cooking, frying and baking and their olive oil’s smooth texture and bittersweet taste give flavor most of their dishes. It’s a crucial ingredient in all Sabina specialties like rustic homemade ‘stringozzi’ pasta and sauce, ‘cecamariti’ pasta with garlic sauce, the donut-shaped ‘cambella’ bread and ‘ciambellini’ biscuits with aniseed.
However, when farmers want to taste their freshly pressed oil after having worked day-and-night to get the olive harvest in, they do nothing more than toast a slice of freshly baked unsalted bread and slowly soak it with oil before eating it straight up.