(photo: bottle of 500 ml Chiappetta Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Calabria, courtesy of Chiappetta web site)
Located just north of Cosenza in Calabria, San Vincenzo La Costa is a comune made up of small villages including San Vincenzo, Gesuiti, Giuranda, etc. San Vincenzo La Costa is famous for growing olives, like much of Calabria, including the large oval shaped Caroleo olive which is dark prupe in color. Caroleo olives are often cured in brine and have an elegant flavor and medium firm texture. The olive is eaten as an antipasto with salumi, but is also made into extra virgin olive oil.
Enter the Chiappetta family
from Norwalk, CT, specifically brothers Pat and Frank who’s family originated from San Vincenzo La Costa and their idea of importing extra virgin olive oil to the US from the family olive orchards in Italy. Like many Calabrians, the original Chiappetta family produced it’s own extra virgin olive oil from ancient olive trees for personal consumption, but when word spread in the surrounding villages about just how good the olive oil tasted the family began pressing and bottling their extra virgin olive oil to sell to family and friends.
(photo: the Chiappetta farm, courtesy of the Chiappetta family)
Fast forward about 75 years and Chiappetta Extra Virgin Olive Oil is available for sale in the United States and boy are we happy about that! Chiappetta oil is intensely fresh and unique tasting when compared to Tuscan oils. That is to say, Chiappetta oil, which is organically produced, exhibits lots of floral character with a ton of vegetal taste. There’s also very little harshness and aftertaste with this Calabrian oil, but like many oils from the region there’s a slight heavyness and “oily” character present (nothing bad, just unique character from this part of Italy).
extra virgin olive oil reminded me of the olive oil
produced by my family outside of Bagnara Calabra
and it made me smile for hours after consuming the product with warm fresh bread and milky mozzarella. We also made a delicious pesto sauc
e with some remaining basil and were amazed at how the oil tempered the bitter quality of late season basil. Overall, the golden colored Chiappetta extra virgin olive oil impressed us tremendously and while we’re certainly biased because Pat and Frank’s family originated from Calabria, we can’t help like a product that comes incredibly close to the olive oil running through this Italian writer’s blood. Forza Chiappetta!
(photo: in our kitchen ready to be consumed!)