Italian Text

not just a salad dressing ...
Here are some benefits of olive oil that you may not have heard of:
-contains essential fatty acids needed to absorb vitamins A,D,E, and K
-oleic acid fights cholesterol deposits on the arteries
- protects the stomach’s mucous lining and does not irritate ulcers, acid indigestion, or gastric disturbances
-stimulates intestinal activity and bile
-protects against free radicals, prime aging factor
-limits calcium loss in the bones, typical in old age

Its quality depends on:
-a high polyphenol count which keeps it fresh (and adds a sharp taste)
-a low number of peroxides which avoid rancidity
-the type of soil and climate the trees have
-harvesting and handling techniques

One of the peculiarities of life in Italy is to hear people ask “where can I purchase good olive oil? With that kind of question it’s a given that commercial brands (sold at the supermarket) are not being considered. Small producers produce for themselves, and maybe sell to a few friends, without any certification, at times high-priced, and at times in locations that are not ideal.

In time I found a medium sized producer on my own that put out a fine oil; the proof of this fact was that they have at times supplied extra virgin olive oil to world famous brands. Having given a bottle here and there to friends, it became routine for me to keep them supplied afterwards. They had assured me that the taste was good; I had assured them that the oil was genuine and Italian.

For a fair number of years the origin of olive oil had been coming under suspect here. By way of European regulations, oil could come from one area around the Mediterranean Sea and be bottled elsewhere. This is a problem but not the only one: it was also suspected that some readily available commercial brands were blended; more of a chemist’s brew than an oil producer’s. One brand that even ran ads using dialect of Tuscany (to make us think that it came from there) but was unmasked when, during an episode of the live show called Lineaverde (produced by the state RAI network) at the 1998 Verona trade show, Sandro Vannucci asked them pointedly “...then you folks are bottlers, not producers.” The day after they put out different ads which pointed out that they blended their oil in order to assure the customer a constant quality. Way before this I realized that another region, Umbria, couldn’t be putting out most of the supermarket brands and seemingly not have enough olive groves to meet its own needs.

Sometimes a solvent is used to better mix this type of “quality” . Someone good at tasting can judge it with just a little in a spoon. My test that I just happened on is to try a little on a hot food; in this way the solvent is made volatile and it will stink rather than smell like olive oil. It happened to me while putting a little on a baked potato to make the skin a little softer.


It’s easy to deduct that other regions of Italy that were bottling a lot of oil were doing the same thing. Those of the trade set out a while back to differentiate themselves. A decade ago the Abruzzo Qualità listing was established. Val di Sangro oil was certified back in 1992 by the Comitato Interprofessionale Regionale dell’ERSA (nowadays the Agenzia Regionale per i Servizi di Sviluppo Agricolo), thereby safeguarding quality regional agriculture and enhancing its image internationally. In 1993, after a heavy elimination process, the oil was admitted for competition in the national Ercole Olivario concourse at Spoleto where it classified among the finest Italian oils. Later a group of academics would declare oil from the province of Chieti the finest in the world.

This oil bursting with fragrance and flavor grows on the sunny hills situated in the territory of the Valsangro Mountain Community, gotten from excellent olives, hand picked, and mainly of the Gentile variety. The Gentile di Chieti is a robust tree and resists the cold well. The oil yield isn’t high, but it is top quality.


Furthermore; thanks to its hilly geographic location (4 to 500m above sea level), the Gentile olive has a good immunity to insects and the like and therefore the farmers traditionally do not use pesticides. In order to taste all the qualities of the oil use it as is from the bottle. The oil is cold pressed by stone mills. The characteristics which make it unique can be summarized as:
very low acidity
slightly green color
fresh olive smell
average maturity flavor, strong at times
low peroxide count

University of Pescara
Sciences Department
Result Limit (EEC)
Free Acids (as % oleic acid) 0,30 1,0
Rancidity negative -
Peroxide Count 6,0 20
UV Spectrophotometry K270 0,082 0,20
Delta K -0,004 0,01
Organolettic Characteristics (COI method) 7,41

We can bestter appreciate the results if we look at the Abruzzo Qualità certification limits:
Abruzzo Qualità EEC
Free Acids &Mac178; 0,5% &Mac178; 1,0%
Peroxide Count &Mac178; 10mg/kg &Mac178; 20mg/kg K270 determination &Mac178; 0,20 &Mac178; 0,20
Delta K determination &Mac178; 0,10 &Mac178; 0,10
Kreiss Reaction negative negative
Phenolic Count &Mac179; 150ppm -
Panel Test &Mac179; 7 &Mac179; 6,5




Also considered by law as the first parameter to consider in determining an oil’s quality. Here we always find it well below 0.5%, even as low as 0.22%, which is far below the legal limit for extra virgin olive oil of 1%.



Peroxide Count:

a measure of the oxidation state of the fatty acids. From the graph we always find them well below the limits, and therfore demonstrate, along with the acidity level, care during the havesting operations. Above all, the gathering and storing are done in the best ways by the co-op members. These operations are of the highest importance as far as oil quality goes.



Phenolic Count:

from the last table it is clear that there is a high level of polyphenols in the oil. Even if they were not contemplated by European Community legislation, this count determins even further the quality of an olive oil.


Average Maturity Flavor, strong at times: Appraising the bitter and spicy aspects of an extra virgin olive oil is of great importance. it’s clear that an oil too bitter and spicy may not be to one’s liking but a proper level indicates maturity. Furthermore the presence of these flavors should comfort us as they are brought into the oil by the poliphenolic substances which, if in a strong presence, are vigoruous natural antioxidants. They protect the oil from being attacked by oxygen, thereby impeding that the oil becomes defective due to rancidity.



To order this tasty extra virgin olive oil (complete with certificate to eliminate any doubt as to its quality) just key in the quantity that you would like on the same line as the size of the container that interests you:
package, lt price ea full carton quantity
_____ 0,25 caraf £8 000 12
_____ 0,50 “ 10 000 6
_____ 0,75 bottle 10 000 12
_____ 1,00 “ 9 700 12
_____ 5,00 tin 47 500 4
_____ 5,00 bottle 47 500 2

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Please make a copy of the form from one dashed line to the other and send as E-Mail to:

THANK YOU for your order, here is a tip on slowing your oil’s aging: olive oil’s biggest enemies are air, light, and heat. Therefore practical tips, which often are underestimated, will allow us to preserve it better: avoid contact with air by reclosing containers and not half-emptying them, use dark containers as it is more important to keep light from oxidizing it (rather that seeing a pretty color - besides its color could be manmade and varies according to olive type and maturity), and we advise that the oil’s temperature be kept fairly fresh and stable (14-16°C) in order to avoid that oxidation processes begin.