Castelvetrano Olives

The Castelvetrano Olives are a world-renowned olives from the western coast of Sicily. They come from the Belice river valley, a valley in the province of Trapani, whose rich and fertile lands face the Mediterranean sea and absorb the sunlight all throughout the year. The temple of Selinunte has stood watch over this valley for over 2600 years and has seen the passage of time not detract from the traditions of it wonderful produce. According to numerous connoisseurs, Charles Quest-Ritson in the lead, this is the premier olive producing region in the world. And it is from this magical location that the Castelvetrano Olives are cultivated, olives whose names comes from the city that dominates this valley, known also as the Nocellara olives.

Usually bright green, when harvested in their traditional October picking, these also come in a black del Belice variety, which is a result from a later harvesting and a process of air oxidation that helps mature the product. The olive picking takes place in late autumn and, according to tradition, is typically harvested by hand. These olives then obtain a more intense colour, almost a wine-red rather than black.

Regardless of whether you chose the green or the black variety, with Castelvetrano Olives you can never go wrong. And even the European Union believes this, as they have been designated by the “Protected Denomination of Origin” (P.D.O.) of the E.U. This is also partially due not only to the particularity of the product, but also the time old tradition of hand-picking the olives and making sure that quality is never compromised.

For all of these reasons, the Castelvetrano Olives have won in popularity, all over the world. They are so delicious that you don’t need to use them in intricate recipes but they are fine to eat on their own, perhaps accompanied by a good glass of wine. Alternatively, put together a platter with some genoa ham, a bowl of almonds and some good strong cheese (such as Parmiggiano Reggiano or Pecorino cheese) – and don’t forget a few sundried tomatoes to add a little colour.

According to Charles Quest-Ritson’s book, “Olive Oil”, Sicily is in fact amongst the premier olive producing regions in the world (far surpassing those of Tuscany, if you take into account the ratio between quality and price). The Nocellara Olive, with its rounded shape and intense green colour, follows the typical traditional Sicilian production, that is to say: all hand-picked. In this way, the quality is never altered.
Pairings & Recipe Ideas:

• Cheese pairing: Parmigiano-Reggiano, Mozzarella di Bufala
• Marcona Almonds
• Genoa salami
• Sicilian Orange & Olive Couscous Salad
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