Olive trees are the symbol of Mediterranean cultures and olive oil has been a part of Istrian soil from the ancient ages. It were the Greeks who came here in 4th century B.C. and planted the first olive trees. With the arrival of the Romans in 1st century B.C. was when the olive oil production expanded. Olive oil crushers and amphoras have been recovered in many places and particularly interesting were those recovered from the island of Brijuni, in the southwestern part of the Istrian penninsula, a fantastic natural reserve that is now an exclusive tourist resort and home to wild animals and dense forests.
In the last decade Istria has become recognized for the high quality olive oils: there are 42 extra vergin olive oil producers enlisted in Flos Olei 2011 olive oil guidebook composed by Marco Oreggia, an Italian expert who compiles this world’s renown guidebook for extra vergin olive oils.
Today there are 5 million olive oil trees planted on 16,000 hectars and the main varieties in Istria are: istarska bjelica, buza, carbonera, leccino, pendolino and frantoio. Be sure to try some of Istria’s best olive oils that you can find in Istrian restaurants and shops:
- Stancija Meneghetti
- Zigante oil
- Ipsa by Ipsa family
- Ol Istria by Agrolaguna
- Olea B.B.
- O.P.G. Gerzinic
- Ex Albis by Sandi Chiavalon
Many olive oil producers organize tasting of their oil so be sure to check their web sites for more info.
Check out these interesting videos on olive oil production in Istria and olive oil in Istrian cuisine from Istria gourmet web site:
- Olive growing in Istria by Marco Oreggia
- Marco Oreggia introducing Istria
- Brioni – the craddle of Istrian olive growth
- Grubic – the old and the new olive mill
- Chiavalon – olive oil and design
- Ipsa – olive oil and truffles
- Belic – olive oil and shrimps
- Belic – olive oil and dessert