(photo: Sangaspano extra virgin olive oil from Messina, Sicilia)
On the morning of December 28th, 1908 a massive earthquake and associated tsunami hit the western province of Calabria and moved across the Stretto di Messina into Sicilia destroying city after city (including Reggio Calabria and Messina). In Messina alone 60,000 people were killed and in Calabria our family lost many people, including small children. In total, over 100,000 people were killed in 1908 making it the deadliest earthquake in European history.
Prior to the earthquake, Messina was home to ancient architecture and a vibrant port. And although the city did re-build, it was bombed extensively in 1943 by the Allies killing thousounds of Italians. However not all of the goings-on within the Province of Messina are gloomy. For example, the olive oil producer Sangaspano
is located in the hills of Valle del Mela overlooking the Gulf of Milazzo and the islands of Stromboli and Panarea. The land and region is beautiful and the extra virgin olive oils coming out of Sicilia rival some of the best Tuscan oils.
The Sangaspano olive oil production is run by Francesco e Ferdinando and they harvest their olives (Nocellara Messinese and Biancolilla) in the early Fall, avoiding excessive ripening of the olives. The olives are pressed within a few hours of the harvest in order to preserve freshness. And like all olive oil production
the process includes: washing, clearing, crushing, and the centrifuging and filtration of the oil.
Sangaspano extra virgin olive oil has a very light color and appearance; you won’t see dark yellow or green notes in this oil. The packaging is very elegant and the product will soon be certified DOP since the estate is located within the DOP Valdemone. The flavor profiles are muted with very little fruit and pepper; we did pick up some notes of lemon and almond. If you’re looking for a big Tuscan style extra virgin olive oil you’ll be disappointed with the Sangaspano. What the Sangaspano does represent is good accessibility and a perfect oil for making salads of all types (tomato, fennel, and lettuce) and as a base for tomato sauce
Find it: 2010 Sangaspano Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $29.95 at Olio2Go.com
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