A Success Story
For 6 generations the Cerquozzi family has preserved the original structure of its oil mill, thereby transmitting to each generation the art of oil production in its purest and most traditional form. Despite the modernization of production methods imposed by the industrial evolution, the Cerquozzi`s continue to remain faithful to the processing methods they have kept alive since the 1800’s. Today they enter the international market with courage, bringing the culture of oil throughout Italy and abroad.
Why is Our Olive Oil Different?
We follow a tradition for the cultivation of olives and the production of oil that dates back to the 1800s. Our company produces exclusively extra virgin olive oil.
During the winter (from late November to mid-February) it is possible to visit the oil mill, watch the oil production, and taste the freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil. We carry out the pressing of the olives with millstones through "cold pressing", an extraction process that is exclusively mechanical (by means of pressure) neither solvents nor chemicals are used in the manufacturing process. The processing of the olives uses the mill for pressing, hydraulic press to extract the oil from the olive paste, and a “separator” to “clean” the oil from residues, such as water and small fragments of pulp or stones.
Cold pressing allows us to preserve the nutritional and physical characteristics of extra virgin olive oil, keeping the organoleptic properties (properties of food like scent, color, or texture) intact and enhancing its nutritional benefits. The first pressing is called “cold” because this is a reference to the temperature of the crushed olive paste. The crushing takes place thanks to a traditional stone mill. The stone mill consists of large stone wheels that rotate and crushes the olives. The resulting paste is subsequently pressed using a method that could be defined as "discontinuous" as it contains breaks in the process.
Our processing plant is among the very few in Italy and in the world to maintain a completely artisanal and labor-intensive processing method, requiring the use of more manpower and longer extraction times--time and work well rewarded by a very high quality extra virgin olive oil.
This method requires more manpower and longer extraction times to produce the very high-quality extra virgin olive oil which makes it well worth the extra effort.
Cold pressing allows us to extract the fruit pulp while preserving all its minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Its main phases are washing, grinding or kneading, pressing, and filtering.
These phases are always performed with mechanical methods. By avoiding any chemical treatment, cold pressing ensures a more natural final product, that is rich in organoleptic qualities and nutritional properties.
What Can We Do for You?
We would like to invite you to try our extra virgin olive oil by purchasing it online on our website: www.frantoiocerquozzi.it. Tasting different products is the best way to discover how each extra virgin olive enhances each meal and how different oils can be paired with different dishes. In Italy, there is an abundance of choices. There are over 500 different varieties of olive oils resulting in as many extra virgin oils, each with different sensorial profiles.
To further increase the number of our available products, we skillfully combine or blend different extra virgin oils. This is to offer even the most demanding and discerning palate an opportunity to get to know new tastes and harmonies. Thanks to our wise choice of olive varieties, our natural and pesticide-free cultivation, and our use of cold pressing, we are able to obtain a very high-quality product and a truly remarkable olive “juice.”
Traditional Method for Extracting Olive Oil: Stone Grinders, fiescoli, and Press
The defoliated olives are washed and then crushed by large granite wheels. Rotating very slowly, the millstones produce a paste of crushed olives whose temperature is between 13º and 18º Celsius (55º to 65º Fahrenheit) (room temperature). The paste thus obtained is remixed (kneading), to the exact consistency to facilitate the oil / water separation. It is then placed on the fiescoli (woven mats used to hold the pulp during the pressing process) to compose a sort of tower. The tower is placed under a press at 500 atm of pressure, where the liquid portion of the paste is separated from pomace (solid part). (The pomace will be sent to pomace factories that will extract the remaining part of the oil.)
The liquid mix of oil and water is then sent to a final separator, where the oil is separated from the water and other impurities by means of natural settling. The oil is then decanted in steel barrels until March / April and finally bottled. Three to four months before bottling, the oil will be velato (veiled from light) and continue to settle in the bottle, creating a brown layer (sludge) on the bottom, that does not compromise the quality of the oil. This oil is called "COLD PRESSED".
We carefully select our olives from the best farmers and olive groves in central Italy. We pay attention to the different degrees of ripeness and the individual characteristics of each variety, so that our final product is the result of a unique and expertly studied blend.
Tradition is especially important to us. For this reason, we produce our oil by means of stone mills and cold presses, as it was done long ago. This process preserves all the oil properties and aromas, allowing you to enjoy them at your table or your customers to enjoy them at your restaurant. The FRANTOIO CERQUOZZI oil has always been a symbol of quality and flavor. Upon request, we can produce oil for all types of palates, with different levels of intensity and fruitiness. When our stock is sold out, we wait until we have fresh raw materials again to ensure we produce only very high-quality oil before we open our sales again.
What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a typical food of the Mediterranean area, an ancient and valuable product. Unfortunately, because of its high economic value, olive oil is subject to many types of adulteration. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat composed almost entirely of triglycerides; the most represented fatty acids are oleic, linoleic, and palmitic. Extra virgin olive oil is the best choice when it comes to seasonings for flavor, fragrance, but also for its health benefits. A food with multiple virtues, it contributes to body growth, to the myelination process of the brain, and to bone formation. Extra virgin olive oil is a friend of the heart, a warrior to cancer and ally of youth. Furthermore, extra virgin olive oil is certainly the noblest and most natural among vegetable fats, because it is obtained from the processing of a fruit (the olive) and it contains all nutrition proper of that fruit and nothings else (no additives, no adulteration).
An excellent extra virgin olive oil is not obtained by chance, but by the wise combination of several factors that interact with each other in a complex way. Some of these factors, the anthropic ones, have to do with choice of farmers and olive presses; other factors, the natural ones, depend on and are influenced by climatic conditions, soil and varieties of olive trees used.
Among the former, the so-called "agronomic practices" are particularly important, that is, all those operations that the farmer performs during the cultivation of the olive tree and in the subsequent phases of storage and conservation of the product.
These factors strongly influence the organoleptic characteristics of the product and its overall quality. Pruning, fertilizing, soil management, phytosanitary protection, harvesting and, obviously, the choice and management of extractive technology are all essential stages in the production of an excellent olive oil.
You do not need to be an expert in order to identify a good extra virgin olive oil. The fundamental rule for everyone is to taste the extra virgin olive oil by itself. Visual Phase During official tastings, visual perception is not a fundamental parameter. However, even just at this level one can get important indications on the cleanliness, roundness, and body of the oil. Pour a small amount of extra virgin olive oil into a glass, observe the oil against the light and shake the glass lightly to evaluate the oil fluidity. An extra virgin olive oil must show a medium-low degree of fluidity. Now swirl the oil around a bit in the glass and observe its color: a green-yellow color is a sign of a young and ripe harvest.
Only through the sense of smell can the oil quality be understood. Before this delicate phase, our oil must be brought to the right conditions to enhance its volatile aromatic components. Very simply, in a "domestic" way, from a bottle of just opened extra virgin olive oil pour a small quantity of oil, equal to about a spoon, into a clean and odorless plastic cup (coffee type). Heat the contents of the cup with the palm of your hand, shaking it slightly (the ideal temperature is 28º C or 82º F). With the other palm of your hand, cover the top of the glass to retain the aromas. Uncover the glass, bring it to your nose and inhale slowly and deeply several times. This will allow you to perceive the various aromas present in the oil and feel the degree of its intensity. A quality extra virgin must absolutely remind you of the fruit it comes from (the olive), with fresh, decisive, and pleasant aromas, releasing a whole series of aromatic notes of the herbaceous, vegetable, and floral type.
Gustatory Phase (Taste)
After the olfactory phase, is the gustatory (tasting) phase. To appreciate the different nuances of the taste, take a small sip of oil and rotate it in your mouth for about ten seconds. It should roll between the tongue and the palate, so that it comes into contact with the taste buds. Immediately after, you should vaporize the oil without swallowing it by sucking air from the half-open lips with the tongue resting on the palate. This operation, which in technical jargon is called "Slurping", can be repeated several times, and will help you to perceive the volatile aromatic compounds and the spiciness of the oil. This retro-nasal evaluation allows a more subtle, complex, and articulated perception of aromas than the direct olfactory evaluation. After about 20/30 seconds, expel the oil from your mouth and carefully evaluate all the sensations that persist after tasting. In this phase a good extra virgin olive oil will allow you to appreciate its bitter and spicy notes, its aromas, but also its "body,” that is, the degree of density, consistency and viscosity of the oil. A quality extra virgin olive oil must have a good fluidity. After tasting the oil, your mouth must always remain clean, i.e. neither oily nor pasty (cotton mouth).
Characteristics and Identification of Monovarietal oils
Monovarietal oils are those obtained from olives of a single variety (100%). Each variety harmonizes (blends) the chemical and organoleptic characteristics of its genetic makeup with the characteristics of the territory where it was cultivated for centuries. Each variety is usually compatible only with its environment of origin and is generally unable to replicate its agronomic characteristics outside of it. Therefore, monovarietal oils are not comparable. Each monovarietal extra virgin olive oil has chemical-physical characteristics and organoleptic sensations that give it a specific territorial typicality and a peculiar identity. The unique characteristics of each monovarietal oil can be perceived and appreciated by the consumer in its infinite nuances. According to their tastes, the consumer can choose the olive oil that best matches each food and the flavor of each dish.
Monovarietal oils can be used pure, thus allowing you to appreciate their specific peculiarities, or together with other oils (blended). An extra virgin olive oil that has been produced from a single variety of olives is not “per se” better than a blend produced from different varieties. The point is to understand if a variety will have a particular appeal, and therefore a positive outcome. This depends on several factors: the sensitivity of the producer, on their ability to know how to best tame the angularity or peculiarities of each individual variety, and finally on the philosophy of the producers.
The Art of Blending
Oils produced by skillfully blending oils extracted from different varieties of olives is a complex art. These blends can be more harmonious and rounded that appeal different consumers’ tastes.
In order to promote and protect the names of quality agricultural products such as olive oil, the European Union has established the “Protected Designation of Origin” (PDO) and PGI certification schemes which ensure that only products genuinely originating in the particular certified region are allowed to be identified as such in commerce.
Even the (PDO) are blended, as the production regulations allows, of different varieties. The blend department is carefully studying the percentages of each type of oil as a function of the organoleptic characteristics that you want to give the final product. If monovarietal thus constitute the ultimate expression of typical and territorial peculiarities, the blends are the expression of a market and a taste and continues to evolve.