On the extra virgin olive oil route
Wine and extra-virgin olive oil have always been an integral part of the cultural heritage of the Marche Region. The Piceno, characterized by a temperate microclimate, the beneficial effects of the Adriatic Sea and a land suitable for agriculture, has been able to gain a role of excellence in these fields. From the success of autochthonous vines such as Pecorino and Passerina, to the great fame of Ascolana olives, in recent years the Piceno hills have flourished with vibrant realities.
Before leaving on the extra virgin olive oil route, some hints are necessary to make you move at best on your own. Making oil is a very common practice among residents in this area, therefore it is very simple to taste a genuine freshly milled oil (especially if you come here between October and November) and enjoy its green spiciness. The most widespread olive cultivars are Leccino, Frantoio, Pendolino, Carboncella, but the undisputed queen of the Piceno’s extra-virgin is the tender Ascolana.
From this type of olive a mono-varietal oil (that is to say, entirely composed of the pressing of a single olive variety) is obtained; it recalls beautiful Sicily in its olfactory and gustatory scents. Taste a crouton of bread or a soup with a drizzle of soft Ascolana oil and you will perceive a fruity flavour with hints of tomato leaves and a very evident spicy note. In every restaurant or trattoria, from the coast to the Apennines, it will be possible to taste genuine oils that you can buy at the shops or directly at the several mills. Monteprandone, Spinetoli, Offida, Caste di Lama, Ascoli (and its countryside) are among the most suitable municipalities for olive production. In general, oil millers are willing to open the doors of their companies and to organize small tastings. The advice is always to call and book a possible visit in advance.
Autumn is the best time to enjoy rural tourism linked to extra virgin olive oil. October and November are the months of olive harvesting and milling, many companies are directly involved in the harvest, thus ensuring you a truly authentic experience.