Jun 5, 2023 2:23 PM
Food and wine
Its fragrance is an expression of ancient flavours and scents, rooted in ancient times, like the centuries-old olive trees that dot the region. Its colour, true "liquid gold", distinguishes it along with its sweetly fruity flavour, evoking the sun that kisses the land from dawn to dusk.
These are the unmistakable characteristics of Calabrian olive oil and, in particular, of branded olive oil, ultra-selected by the specification. Characteristics already known and cited by Pliny the Elder, in the Naturalis Historia, and linked to the arrival in Calabria of monks from the East, who were able to give a strong impulse to local olive oil production, enabling it to take on the characteristics of a prized olive crop.
Discovering Calabrian olive oil
Today, the Olio di Calabria PGI is a certified brand in accordance with the dictates of the strict specifications to which the region's main companies, oil mills and historical producers adhere, an integral part of the Consorzio Olio Calabria PGI, a guarantee of quality and traceability.
A foodstuff that is a concentrate of high nutritional and organoleptic properties, excellent both as an ingredient in typical Calabrian and national recipes, and raw, irresistible dressing for homemade bread, bruschettas and salads.
In addition to the regional PGI, Calabrian olive oil boasts a number of branded declinations that are an expression of more specific territories. These include Lametia PDO, Alto Crotonese PDO and Bruzio PDO.
Oil Roads and Oil Cities in Calabria
Fruit of centuries-old olive trees and indigenous varieties, Calabrian oil is one of the ideal foods for discovering the territory through a series of dedicated tasting itineraries, which, starting from the Strade dell'Olio and Città dell'Olio in Calabria, allow you to taste drops of deliciousness and get to know authentic places.
The Oil Roads in Calabria pass through no less than 17 Oil Cities, a series of municipalities devoted to the production of Calabrian extra virgin olive oil.
Roads and Cities of Oil Cosenza
Starting in the province of Cosenza, our Oil Road passes through the main producers of Olio di Calabria PGI and Olio Bruzio PDO.
Among the localities that stand out as Oil Cities are Saracena, also famous for its prized Moscato di Saracena wine (Slow Food Presidium), and San Basile, where the Bruzio Extra Virgin Olive Oil PDO happily combines with local dishes, from soups to main courses of meat and herbs from the Pollino National Park.
Along the Calabrian Oil Roads, heading south-east, we continue our discovery of San Marco Argentano, where a tasting of Bruzio PDO is combined with an evocative visit to the Abbazia della Matina (FAI Place of the Heart). Other Oil Cities to discover in the surrounding area are Tarsia, Terranova di Sibari, Santa Sofia d'Epiro and San Demetrio Corone, with the dishes of ancient Albanian and Greek-oriental cuisine.
The Oil Roads meet the Alto Ionio Cosentino in the city of Corigliano-Rossano (which is also the production area of Clementine di Calabria PGI and Liquirizia di Calabria PDO). Here Calabrian oil is made from an indigenous olive variety: the Dolce di Rossano. Between one tasting and another, visits to the Ducal Castle of Corigliano and the Diocesan Museum, which exhibits the ancient gospel known as the Codex Purpureus Rossanensis (UNESCO Heritage), are not to be missed.
Roads and Cities of Oil Crotone
Continuing along the Oil Roads on the Ionian coast, we reach the province of Crotone to discover the delicious Olio Alto Crotonese PDO. The Protected Designation of Origin is awarded here to extra virgin oil obtained from the Carolea variety.
A visit to the City of Pythagoras, also famous for its Pecorino Crotonese DOP cheese and its surroundings, including the Oil City of Cotronei, is the perfect opportunity to taste some of the area's typical dishes, such as Sardella crotonese, as well as to appreciate the proximity of sea/mountain with naturalistic excursions between the Sila National Park and the Marine Protected Area of Isola Capo Rizzuto.
Roads and Cities of Oil Catanzaro
In the rolling hills between the Two Seas, the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, the Oil Roads in Calabria take us to the gates of Catanzaro, the regional capital, and its province.
The enchanting seaside resorts on the Ionian side, many of which are Blue Flag, and the green hills on which the Oil Cities of Vallefiorita, Palermiti and Maida stand, are worth a visit with tasting.
The Vie dell'Olio itinerary takes us to central Lamezia Terme for a dinner enriched by Olio Lametia PDO and a walk through the historic centre of Nicastro, discovering the Cathedral, the Diocesan Museum and the Monumental Complex of San Domenico, until we reach the panoramic summit on which the remains of the Norman-Swabian Castle stand.
Roads and Cities of Oil Reggio Calabria
Reggio Calabria is also among the Oil Cities. As well as being the home of the Bergamot of Reggio Calabria PDO, the City of the Straits boasts an excellent oil, excellent for accompanying a fish lunch before visiting the artistic beauties: from the National Archaeological Museum, which exhibits the Bronze Statues of Riace, to the Aragonese Castle and the "Francesco Cilea" Theatre.
Nearby, a tasting is also suggested in Cinquefrondi, a small hillside Oil Town.
Travelling up the Ionian coast, we reach the last places that intercept the Oil Roads in Calabria. From the villages of the Grecanica area to the Jasmine Coast, passing through Gerace, which is also one of The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy, where you can visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and the small towns of Antonimina and Ciminà.