Merico Maria Rosa’s family first produced olive oil in 1700. Today, her daughter Marta cultivates a grove over 500 years old (many of the trees are protected by UNESCO), where the olives are hand picked and pressed within eight hours of the harvest. It may sound a little over the top, but I swear a farm with this kind of history—especially one where the children are still very passionate about making an oil with great flavor—creates a different kind of food. It's very in touch with its surroundings and the terroir of its area.
Marta's farm's centuries-old tradition sits on top of a Puglian history, one that has evidence of olive cultivation from 5,000 years ago. With a loaf of Paesano close at hand—Zingerman's version of the traditional bread of Puglia—and perhaps a bit of wild chicory and a deep dish of this extra virgin olive oil at the ready, you’ll have everything you need to pretend you're enjoying an afternoon in the south of Italy.
Extra virgin olive oil
Ogliarola di Lecce and Cellina di Nardò olives
Smooth & assertive flavors
Harvested in fall 2022, this oil is quite savory with notes of grilled artichoke and roasted red pepper. There's a vegetal bitterness reminiscent of radicchio, and the finish leaves a peppery tickle in the throat.