All posts filed under: Italy

Oleificio Gulino: Olive You, Sicily

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.

7 Things You’re Going To Want To Eat in Sicily

As Americans, much of the food we know as “Italian” has its origins in Sicily. Old school, red sauce trattorias with checkered tablecloths pull heavily from the Sicilian repertoire—think tomatoes, olive oil, and ricotta. The refined, tortellini-en-brodo cuisine of Northern Italy this is not. Sicilian food is rustic, bold, and it wants you to eat because you’re looking a little thin. Arancini: You’ve probably come across American versions of these rice balls, perhaps as part of a passed hors d’oeuvres situation. In Sicily, they’re better (usually stuffed with cheese and ragu) and bigger—softball-sized. Granita: Most specifically at Café Sicilia in Noto, a pastry and people-watching institution. The lemon is perfectly and predictably refreshing, the almond is round and memorable, and the espresso, in a large enough quantity, might stop your heart. And when they ask if you want to add brioche to your granita order, you add brioche. Eggplant: “You have to order the eggplant, it’s the best thing,” said no one ever. Except in Sicily (and okay, select parts of Asia), where through some …

Arianna Occhipinti, the Janet Jackson of Sicily Winemakers

At age 22, we were dominating flip cup (Blake) and transitioning from vanilla-vodka-and-cokes to much more sophisticated Jamison-and-gingers (MacKenzie). Arianna Occhipinti was starting her vineyard. Ten years later, Occhipinti wines are something of a cult favorite, their draw strong enough to bring us to the agricultural region around the city of Vittoria. Arianna’s wines are all natural: no pesticides, no irrigation, no preservatives. Our sweet and seemingly tireless vineyard guide, Alessandra, explained that irrigation produces grapes that are overly coddled and unremarkable, B- minus students who “just really need to take a couple semesters off because snowboarding is where I feel most whole.” Take away the water, and you get hardy vines whose roots extend deep into the mineral-abundant earth and whose fruit is sugar-rich—the better to attract insects that will help spread the seeds. The care Arianna puts into her wine is evident. Without getting too much into arcane tasting notes, they’re delicious, particularly her SP68 white. It’s a blend of TK and moscato, the latter lending sweet notes to the nose that make …