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All about Taggiasca Olive
Olive grove in Imperia

What you must know about the Taggiasca Olive

Taggiasca Olive is considered to be the most famous and tasteful olive in the world. At least that is what the farmers in Liguria claim. The olive growers say the same about their olives in Sicily, Crete, Spain and Provence. So it’s worth getting to the bottom of the taggiasca olive myth and learn more about the famous fruit.

Taggiasca Olive Harvest 2020
Taggiasca Olive at harvest

Size, shape and colour of Taggiasca Olive

The fruit of the olive variety Taggiasca is rather small to medium, 1.5 cm to 2.5 cm. It has an elongated shape with a slightly thicker underside and a smooth skin. The pulp of the olive is very firm and remains stable for a long time. The Taggiasca Olive is also special in its colourful colours: it is shown in many different colours, including an olive tree. Shape and colour Taggiasca OliveThese colours range from light green to brownish colours, some are purple, some purple – a play of colours that alone makes the olive unique.

Due to its rather small size, this olive variety develops a very intense aroma depending on climatic conditions. This is due to the fact that this olive stores less water than other olive varieties.

The centuries-old history of an olive variety

As early as the end of the 7th century, Benedictine monks settled from the French monastery island of Lerins off Cannes on the Cote d’azure on the Italian mainland into the valley of the River Argentina. At Taggia they founded the monastery of Santa Maria del Canneto and, according to legend, planted olive trees on the first Taggiasca. Also to help the inhabitants of Valle Argentina, exploited by the Saracens, economically. The Olive was then named after Taggia Province. From this origin, taggiasca Olive conquered the whole of Italy.

Distribution of Taggiasca Olive and climate

From its origin in the municipality of Taggia, the olive actually spread throughout Italy. The main growing area, however, is still the province of Imperia and the adjacent provinces, but also Piedmont and Provence. This is due to the special microclimate, which makes the olive particularly thriving and tasty.

The Riviera Ligure di Ponente is characterized by its very own climatic conditions. The maritime Alps with a height of up to 2,000 meters protect against the cold currents from the north, the Gulf Stream warms from the south. As a result, the region is exposed to very weak temperature fluctuations and the climate is mild all year round. In addition, there are 300 sunny days per year at moderate maximum temperatures. Ideal conditions for this olive variety.

Area of taggiasca olive
Taggiasca Olive in Liguria

Quality and use

Due to its long-lasting solid consistency of the pulp, taggiasca olive is suitable for preservation in oil or brine. Insertion in brine (Salamoia), a solution made from water and salt, is a centuries-old tradition in conservation technology.

But this type of olive has also become famous for the production of extra virgin olive oil. This olive oil is considered one of the best in the world. Depending on the time of consumption after harvest, the aroma is slightly spicy-sharp, fruity with a note of almond.

OliO DOP RIVIERA LIGURE AwardThis first-class quality of olive oil, directly linked to cultivation in the perfect region, has led to this olive oil being protected by trademark law in 1997. Only extra virgin olive oils from taggiasca olivefroms from this region may be called DOP Riviera Ligure Riviera dei Fiori.

However, the use of this seal costs money and costs for the farmers, who cannot afford many, so there are many oils in the region that meet the criteria but do not bear the seal.

The harvest of olives

Good olive oil is produced in October to December. During this period, the fruit stands are fully formed and the olives have the most intense aroma. Industrial producers leave the olives hanging from the tree until January/February, so that they can draw more water over the winter months, increase in size and generate more yield through the mass. This has a negative effect on taste.

In Liguria, the olives are harvested by hand. This is due to the landscape. There are no flat areas in which you could plant plantations and harvest them with harvest trackers. That is a good thing. It spares the trees, the inhabitants of the trees such as songbirds and insects.

In the past, the olives were beaten from the branches with a stick of chestnut wood from the “Trappa”. Nets spread under nea caught the olives. Today it is similar, except that the wood has become a vibrating machine that shakes the branches. Nevertheless, a bone work over weeks.

Storage and shelf life

The legal shelf life of olive oil is the duration of 24 months after bottling in bottles or canisters. However, the olive oil is not spoiled afterwards. It lasts a few years in the right place. The same applies to the storage of olive oil as to other foods: heat and light speed up the aging process. Ideally, the olive oil is stored in a cool and dark way.

"Vino vecchio e olio nuovo"

Italienisches Sprichwort

Even if the olive oil is long-lasting. It loses aroma from the first day after pressing. The first few weeks you can still taste the tenderer sharpness of the olives, which is especially too spicy for many Germans. Then from March after the harvest time, the olive oil becomes much milder. At the end of the shelf life, it has lost its characteristics quite a bit and is usually only used for cooking.

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