Fresh from the mineral rich soil on the sunny slopes of Europe’s most spectacular active volcano, Mount Etna in Sicily.
Having explored every inch of the stunning Island of Sicily and tasted a vast selection of different olive oils, we decided this was the product we wanted to bring to the rest of Europe. But what makes Monte Etna D.O.P. so special? Let’s take a look at how it’s made so you can understand why quality is key.
The origins of Monte Etna DOP
Olive Oil has been produced on Mount Etna for hundreds of years with records dating back to the 5th century, but it has been officially recognised since 2003, thanks to the work of the Monte Etna Protection Consortium. On 1 October 2007, it gained the prestigious DOP status which guarantees its origin and quality from cultivation right through to bottling.
The Olives of Monte Etna DOP and its territory
In order for this olive oil to classify as Monte Etna DOP, the oil must be extracted from at least 65% “Nocellara Etnea” olives. The other varieties that can make up the remaining 35% are “Moresca”, “Tonda Iblea”, Ogliarola Messinese", "Biancolilla", "Brandofino" and "L'Olivo di Castiglione" all in variable percentages.
The designated protected origin (DOP) or the location where the olives must grow, be harvested and extracted is made up of the following locations around Mount Etna; Adrano, Belpasso, Biancavilla, Bronte, Camporotondo Etneo, Castiglione di Sicilia, Maletto, Maniace, Motta S. Anastasia, Paterno ', Ragalna, Randazzo, Santa Maria di Licodia, San Pietro Clarenza, Malvagna, Mojo Alcantara, Roccella Valdemone, Santa Domenica Vittoria.
Climate and cultivation characteristics
The climate for olives which make up Monte Etna DOP is Mediterranean sub-tropical, semi dry with a long dry summer. The rainfall is concentrated in the Autumn and winter months.
To ensure the characteristics of the olives are not changed, growers must use traditional methods for pruning and planting and the olives must be harvested no later than the middle of January, the harvest must also not exceed 10,000kg per hectare.
All Monte Etna DOP producers must register their olive groves which are regulated by the authority.
Production of Monte Etna DOP
All harvesting must be by hand or with harvesting tools and collected in nets to prevent those just harvested mixing with olives that have naturally fallen to the ground. Beating of branches for harvest is not allowed.
Olives must be kept in ventilated containers prior to extraction and kept in rooms with low humidity at a maximum temperature of 15 degrees.
The olives are carefully washed in a stream water on vibration grates and leaves are removed. The olives are ground either by stone grinding or mechanical crushers and extraction must take place using mechanical processes. The temperature during the process of extraction must not exceed 27 degrees (cold extraction).
The packaging of any Monte Etna DOP product must take place within the restricted zone that we mentioned above.
BellaTerra - Monte Etna DOP
Our Monte Etna DOP, produced in the town of Bronte, is one of the highest in quality you can buy, made by a second generation producer whose family has been making stunning olive oil since 1969.
Taste it for yourself, by purchasing it right here on our website or from one of the many fine food stores stocking our product in the UK.