‘Liquid gold’ is the name given to the valuable extra-virgin olive oil from the hills of Matera in Southern Italy. Olives originated from Asia, but olives that now grow in Mediterranean countries like Spain and Italy are one of the best in the world because of the climate in these places that suit the growth of olives. Among the different kinds of olive oil, the extra-virgin olive oil has the best flavor and best quality.
For half a century now, the Valluzzi olive-press produces top quality extra-virgin olive oil from only one particular kind of olives, the cultivar majatica, thus the name La Majatica. These high-quality olives grow abundantly in that little town of Materano in Basilicata. It is lovingly and gently picked, and within 24 hours, it goes through the cold-press method to ensure the low acid level of the olive oil.
The Big Difference
What makes the olive oil from Matera so different? It comes from beautifully grown, healthy olives that give a delicate fragrance. The oil is processed within one day from picking so the acid level is lower. The color is a magical shade of green with yellow reflections. The taste is delicate and fruity, although a bit bitter and ends with an elegant spicy touch that balances the whole experience. In general, extra-virgin olive oil is pure on how it looks tastes and smells.
The La Majatica extra-virgin oil is best used to flavor food that is lightly cooked, and with delicate aroma. It can be used on salads and fish recipes.
The La Majatica olives are gently picked, done manually during the last quarter of the year – October to November. Another method of picking is to use miniature mechanical vibrators that will cause them to fall. To avoid bruising them, nets are placed around the trees to catch the olives. They are then placed in crates without lids and taken to the mill where they are processed within 24 hours.
There are suction machines which separate the olives from the leaves and twigs. Then it is placed back into the open crates where they are crushed or broken. The next phase is the mixing and slow re-mixing to get the olive paste. This paste is placed into the mixer where the oil is separated. Then there is the extraction where the paste is removed, and you get olive oil, olive residue and vegetation water. The final step is the separation using the centrifuge separator to totally separate the oily part from the vegetation water.
Benefits of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Compared with other kinds of oil, the extra-virgin olive oil has these benefits:
- It is rich in vitamin K and E, and beneficial fatty acids;
- Contains anti-oxidants which fight off diseases like cancer;
- Fights inflammations that are linked to heart diseases, diabetes and arthritis;
- Prevents blood clots;
- Lowers blood pressure;
- Boosts circulation of blood;
- Promotes longevity.
- Use when cooking pasta for added rich flavor;
- To bake bread, mixing it in the recipe and for brushing on top;
- Olive oil biscotti;
- Foudjou, a cheese spread with olive oil and herbs;
- Seasoning for chicken recipes, like olive oil confit chicken;
- As a drink ‘ Olive 7 Ways’which mixes extra-virgin olive oil with dry vermouth.
Uses of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
More than just cooking, here are the other uses of extra-virgin olive oil:
- Use on your meals and it helps weight loss;
- Pain relief with its anti-inflammatory powers;
- Prevents aging on skin and other damage;
- Beautifies skin, especially stretch marks.
This ‘liquid gold’ has put Matera in the map. Its hills are blessed with abundance of this special kind of olives. From their farm to our kitchens, enjoy!