Thursday, November 8, 2012

Olive picking in Velletri

last weekend we went olive picking in a nearby town called Velletri. it's an annual tradition for the program, and it was so fun even though it was rainy and cold the day of.

our day started with actual olive picking, which isn't so much picking as it is shaking the tree really hard and watching olives rain down on your heads.

an olive tree! 

can you spot the olives?

We spent an hour or so picking the olives, then we gathered them up and headed to the processing plant area. 

crates and crates...

...full of olives!

the olives are sorted from the branches and leaves, cleaned, then processed. first they are mashed up into a paste, then plastered onto these cylinders where then the cylinders are pressed, and the oil that comes out is the extra virgin olive oil. there is some water, but that is literally spun out of the oil. the oil/water mixture is put into a high speed spinning machine that separates the water from the oil!

the wheels that make paste

each cylinder takes an hour to fully press

the fresh olive oil was unlike anything I'd ever tasted, it was so delicious and full of flavor. and it was a bright green color! I sort of wish I'd bought some to take home... ugh, it was so good. 

after our day of picking olives it was time for lunch! lunch was a 5 course affair, starting with pasta, then potatoes and bbq chicken, then sausages and ribs, then salad and dessert. we had to skip salad because we were so full, but that's alright. and naturally everything was drizzled in olive oil. except dessert. cake was not oily. 

italian bbq!

we ate for three hours in true Italian style, then headed home. I did not need dinner that night! such a fun day and it was so cool to see how olive oil is made, and the fresh evoo tasted a hundred times more spectacular than anything you buy bottled at Whole Foods. 

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