Enrico and his family come from Ceraso, a city in the Cilento geographic region of southern Italy. Enrico's family, the Iannicelli family, has owned an olive oil farm since the 19th century, passed down from father to son. The company is now in the hands of the 4th generation. In 2020, Enrico and Felice De Luca, the fifth generation, carried out a rebranding of the company, and worked on the expansion of the company abroad. We were very curious about the story behind their company and olive oil. Enrico tells us all about the olive oil production process, how to recognize a good olive oil and the importance of olive oil in Italy.
According to Enrico, a good olive oil is more important than many people think. “The world of oil is as wide as that of wine. There are many blends that add up to create even more totally unique products. Each dish can be enriched with a different oil: intense, medium or fruity, strong or slightly spicy, and so on. We recommend using different oils for different dishes and combining them to get unique flavors.” We asked Enrico what criteria a good olive oil should meet. He said that you can distinguish a good olive oil on the basis of three characteristics. Nice to try this out with the olive oil you have at home!
The fluidity: Pour a tablespoon of oil into a glass and shake it. A good olive oil has a medium-low fluidity. If the oil is very fluid it might not be a good sign.
Smell: Once the glass is shaken and heated a little, smell it. If you perceive scents of olive, grass, fruit and vegetables, it is very likely that the oil is good.
The right taste: a good olive oil should have a bitter and spicy taste. So when you notice these kinds of flavors, you can be sure that your olive oil is a quality oil.
“The world of oil is as wide as that of wine.”
In addition to its importance in terms of taste, it seems that olive oil is also known for its ability to prolong your life. Enrico told us that since the end of 2018, the US government (FDA) has stated, based on numerous studies, that extra virgin olive oil is no longer a simple food, but a medicine. According to them, two tablespoons of raw olive oil per day will already provide benefits.
Because of these proven benefits, olive oil fits perfectly into Cilento's food culture, Enrico explains. Cilento is, in fact, the home of the Mediterranean diet, one of the most recommended diets by dieticians and nutritionists. “The principles are: variety and completeness. It is therefore a very balanced diet with, among other things, grains, bread, vegetables, olive oil, fish and wine. Ingredients that form the so-called food pyramid. The main features of the Mediterranean diet are the low consumption of saturated fats and the important presence of fiber and carbohydrates, while the intake of monounsaturated fats from olive oil is high. It is also essential to drink plenty of water.”
Finally, Enrico wants to invite everyone to come to Cilento once. “It is a unique area with landscapes that contain ancient history and anecdotes from their past. In addition, the Cilento Coast has two Marine Protected Areas and ten Blue Flags, an international recognition given to coastal towns with clean seas and beaches that meet high quality standards.”
“It is a unique area with landscapes that contain ancient history and anecdotes from their past.”
For the real olive oil experience we got to try the olive oil from Enrico's family and we made their authentic bruschetta recipe with it. The olive oil was delicious and stylishly packaged. No wonder they have already won several awards.