Our visit to Sicily happily coincided with the yearly olive harvest, which, like a gallon of olive oil in our house, lasts about a month. People who own olive groves—and this seems to include both actual farmer types and the guy down the street who just happens to have an ancestral plot—bring their haul to their local oleificio, where the oil is extracted. Fausta Occhipinti, our lovely host in Vittoria and sister of Arianna, brought us to Oleificio Gulino, a family-run affair that has been operational since 1880.
This is what Antonello’s great-great-great-grandmother’s family used to extract oil from olives:
And this is how it’s done today:
Olives are de-stemmed, washed, and fed into a three-chambered mega-food-processor until pulverized. The solids are then separated from the liquids, and then the water is burned off, leaving behind liquid gold.