Nesteld in the middle of the Italian peninsula, enclosed by hills and mountain ranges, expanses of green landscaped lapping lakes and waterways, Umbria relies on its resources to give life to a solid and genuine cuisine. At the centre of local ingredients is extra virgin olive oil, which has always been one of the top-ranking regional gastronomy highlights.
Umbria extra virgin olive oil
Once again, the Umbrian green gold amazes for the quantity and quality of offer: reference producers are confirmed at the top of the national olive growing scene, growing year after year. The Oli d’Italia 2019 del Gambero Rosso guide offers a positive snapshot of the local production, which continues to increase thanks to the network of artisan olive mills determined to take collective steps forward.
A good increase in production (about +35%) was recorded, despite the climatic difficulties that compromised the last olive oil campaign. Quality remains good, too: in fact, there are three producers that have received special awards in the latest edition of the guide.
Marfuga: the best organic olive oil
A recognition that returns to Marfuga (after an award in 2017), a solid producer in Campello sul Clitunno that for years has been committed to protecting the surrounding environment and bringing value to the land, applying parameters of organic farming with rigor and passion. Meet Francesco Marfuga, who focused all efforts on his oil mill and the tourist experience linked to olive oil since the early 1990s, when he first joined the company. Here, on the 30 hectares of land located between 300 and 600 meters altitude, the olive grower carefully manages the work in the field and in the oil mill, creating exceptional labels that never cease to surprise..
The Marfuga oils
The prize goes to the Trace Bio, a medium fruity oil with decidedly bitter and spicy and well-balanced sensations, with hints of almond, flowers and pepper. A real purebred horse, which should not however obscure the other farm’s oils, equally extraordinary: the Riserva Dop Umbria Colli Assisi Spoleto is a balanced light fruity and with delicate notes of grass and almond, pleasantly persistent; and then there’s L’Affiorante Monocultivar Moraiolo Bio, played on the nuances of artichoke, mowed grass and almond.
Viola: the best Dop olive oil
Generations of olive growers have helmed the company to work in the field in close contact with the plants, with love and patience, opting for organic farming and maximum reduction of treatments: Currently at the helm of the family company is Marco Viola, passionate producer who immediately staked everything on the high quality of his products. He is the person responsible for the birth of character oils that, year after year, continue to rank among the best in the entire region. A few minutes from the centre of Foligno, the producer grows about 5,000 plants of local organic varieties, in addition to the 27,000 he rents.
Viola’s olive oils
The best Dop award goes to Colleruita Dop Umbria Colli Assisi Spoleto, an intense and decisive extra virgin, enveloping in its balsamic nuances punctuated by a nice pepper sensation. But there are also Il Sincero Monocultivar Moraiolo, a complex and intense fruity oil with a hint of tomato, accompanied by notes of grass, almond and arugula, and then the Costa del Riparo Bio, which is rather balsamic on the nose, with aromas reminiscent of freshly mowed grass.
Arnaldo Caprai: not just wine
New in this edition is the Olio & Vino award, created to bring attention to companies specializing in wine production that have decided to engage in the olive sector as well. Excellent results come from the estate led by Marco Caprai in Montefalco, a renowned winery famous above all for Sagrantino, which has managed to stand out also for the quality of tits extra virgin olive oil.
Caprai’s olive oil
Artichoke, almond, pepper: these are the sensations that make up the beautiful aromatic profile of the DOP Umbria Colli Martani, an olive oil with an elegant and balanced medium fruity taste, and a green and persistent texture defined by refined balsamic notes.
Olive oil restaurants
A land of oil and good wine, at the table Umbria displays the best of local ingredients, combining them in simple and tasty dishes. Like the ones served at Osteria a Priori in Perugia, a trattoria located behind the Palazzo di Priori that offers traditional cuisine in an informal and welcoming environment. There’s also Olevm, an olive oil shop with a kitchen that’s tastefully decorated. The place is driven with passion by the owners who love good food and who engage in the production of typical specialties, all seasoned with excellent Umbrian extra virgin olive oil. And then La Trattoria di Oscar…e quant’altro in Bevagna, with sophisticated dishes resulting from a careful selection of ingredients.
Olive oil shops
And then there’s the olive oil shops: in addition to Olevm in Montefalco, in seeking labels from all over Italy, E*travergine in Spello deserves a special mention. This is a real shop of wonders set in a timeless atmosphere, with olive oil selections from all over the world as well as niche gastronomic specialties. There’s also the possibility of eating, thanks to a menu dedicated to green gold and edible flowers.
by Michela Becchi
Azienda Agraria Marfuga – Campello Sul Clitunno (PG) – viale Firenze, snc, 06042 – marfuga.it/it/
Azienda Agraria Viola – Foligno (PG) – via Borgo San Giovanni, 11 – viola.it/it
Arnaldo Caprai – Montefalco (PG) – località Torre, 06036 – arnaldocaprai.it/
Where to eat
Osteria a Priori – Perugia – via dei Priori, 39 – osteriaapriori.it
Olevm – Montefalco (PG) – Corso Goffredo Mameli, 55 – olevm.it/
La Trattoria di Oscar…e quant’altro – Bevagna (PG) – piazza del Girone, 2 – latrattoriadioscar.it/
Where to shop
E*travergine – Spello (PG) – via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 9 – facebook.com/ExtraVergineOleoteca/