One of the best known products of Marche is the extra-virgin olive oil, Cartoceto oil is the only one DOP one in Marche, a special reward deserved not only for its story but for its particular mix of kinds, such as Raggiola, Leccino and Frantoio: no mistake in it, in fact, it takes its name from the place where the fruit becomes oil, and it is a species coming from Tuscany. Other minor kinds of olive are added: Raggia and Pendolino, also named as Moraiolo. The result is a strong-structure oil, sweet and rich in aromas, such as the meadow grass flavour, very intense fruity, while the taste is sweet and, for someone, similar to almond.
Altough the value of this extra virgin olive-oil comes from the quality of trees, the moment of the harvest is particularly delicate and important. It can compromise most of the quality of the product if made without care.
Olives are mostly collected by hands, or using simple tools, even machine tools, just to fasten the harvest, ; all the machines must have wheels covered with rubber, to avoid heavy vibrations that could damage trees. Agitating the trees is avoided, in every case. Timing is another important aspect in harvest collecting. Fruits mast reach the oil mill as soon as possible, at least within two days since the collection has started. During the period in the oil-mill, olives can wait only for few hours, because any strong smell can modify their flavour.
The extraction of the oil from the olives is made "a freddo", it means without any heating during the process. The process of oil extraction has a fixed procedure, and all the steps must be respected. No other way is allowed, such as "ripasso", in which the squeezed olives start a new round, and during the extraction the use of any chemical or bio-chemical product is strictly prohibited.
The oil is then filtered by mechanical tools, or by "fiscoli", traditional drilled filters, that were once made of coconut fiber, and nowadays in shyntetic fiber, to avoid the growth of mould. Each new year, at the beginning of October, when the harvest season starts, they are completely substituted. The oil is then stocked in steel barrel, ready to be bottled and used.
The extra-virgin olive-oil of Cartoceto is an excellent product, rich in Vitamine E, a strong anti-oxydizing, in fact it obstructs the action of free radicals, that are responsible for the aging of cells.
Enjoy it on grilled bread, with a bit of fresh garlic, salt and pepper. The Cartoceto “bruschetta” is also good when eaten without any other food, but is perfect beside fish soup, or legumes, for dressing salads, but most of all it must be tasted uncooked, fresh, so that its goodness must be tasted "au naturel" !