I don’t how I will even begin to tell you what today was like, and it is not even finished yet.I came to Italy this time with the express purpose of participating the raccolte, olive harvest. That did not work out when I arrived in Terlizzi to find my friends no longer made their little castle available for overnight stays and we wound up in a different place. The harvest never came up, our communication is minuscule and we opted for other adventures. BUT, 3 weeks later i have spent the entire morning and afternoon following the harvest from tree to nets spread on the ground for harvest, to hand pickers, to the fattoria for crushing, through the centrifuge and finally, pouring thick and green and opaque into a small pitcher and then watched as our host poured it onto our waiting slices of Calabrian bread. Calabrain bread that is equal part bread and holes, so the oil dripped to the floor below until I cupped my other hand under it to save every precious drop of the beautiful oil. I wiped what i could of the oil up with my bread and when I had finished I rubbed the remaining oil right into my skin. Gianodomenico encouraged us to wipe our lips with it as well to keep them soft.
After 6 hours of traipsing around the hills, seeing the baby sheep in the corral, the adult sheep grazing in the olive groves and having a stupendous lunch of homemade Calabrian meats, cheeses, wine, olives and pickled eggplant, spread out on an overturned olive basket. That basket was at least 4 feet by 4 feet and lunch arrived with a small cutting board, a tablecloth and plastic glasses. No need for plates of any kind, we simply put it all on our trenchers of bread. WE were dropped off at our door, in the pourig rain for a good nap, but will meet for dinner at the restaurant in a few hours for olives, anchovies, oil and pepperoncino fried up together and eaten on bread. I can hardly believe this man spent the entire day educating us. It was an experience of a lifetime.
I must nap, more later and pictures also.
Ciao for now,