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P.D.O. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL “TERRA D’OTRANTO”

CHARACTERISTIC OF:
the entire administrative territory of the province of Lecce and the region of the province of Taranto with the exclusion of the following Communes: Ginosa, Laterza, Castellaneta, Palagianello, Palagiano, Mottola, Massafra, Crispiano, Statte and one part of the Comune of Taranto. This P.D.O. includes the following Communes of Brindisi: Brindisi, Cellino San Marco, Erchie, Francavilla Fontana, Latiano, Mesagne, Oria, San Donaci, San Pancrazio Salentino, San Pietro Vernotico, Torchiarolo e Torre Santa Susanna.

Types of olives by variety: Cellina di Nardò and Ogliarola (locally known as Ogliarola Leccese or Salentina) for at least 60%,other varieties present in the olive groves in quantities of not more than 40%, with temporary adjustments which have permitted other varieties to be used for phyto-sanitary reasons.

Here we are in the so called “Heel of Italy” extending towards the Balkans and the East. And, before elaborating on the Rules for P.D.O. extra virgin olive oil Terra d’Otranto let us pause for a moment and look at the history of this area that stretches between the Ionian and Adriatic seas, from Murge of Taranto and from the furthest borders of Brindisi of the South East Murge, through the plain of Lecce, ending in the Serre Salentine, at the confluence of the two seas.
“It takes its name from the city of Otranto, which in ancient times and in the Mediaeval period was of great importance and was the capital for the Byzantine government, from which era the denomination Terra d’Otranto’ dates.” In the three jurisdictions into which Puglia was divided by Frederick II, the most southern part was of course the Terra d’Otranto which extended as far as Bradano, and also included Matera,” as the Treccani Encyclopaedia relates. The whole fell shortly thereafter under the dominion of the House of Anjou, under the Durazzesco family and the Kingdom of Aragon.


In 1663, during Spanish rule, Matera was separated from the Terra d’Otranto and assigned to the Basilicata. From 1663 till 1923, the borders of the Terra d’Otranto, which coincided with those of the Province of Lecce, remained more or less unchanged. Taranto became an individual Province in 1923 and Brindisi in 1927.

So, from this it is easy to understand why the Denomination of Protected Origin with a long-standing regional cohesion, includes, beyond Lecce, also part of the Taranto and Brindisi areas: with their cohesive climate and rural traditions.

Salento, a brand today recognised and appreciated throughout the world, boasts an agricultural cornucopia characterised by its olive trees which are even resistant to the Xylella onslaught which dries out the majestic trees.

Olive trees were grown in Salento from prehistoric times and expanded rapidly through the doings of the Messapi people between the 5th and 6th centuries BC.
The commingling of trade and cultures and dominions which characterised Puglia (and Salento) influenced its olive-growing traditions through the contributions of the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans.

The cuisine of Salento is Mediterranean par excellence and onto every dish a dash of extra virgin olive oil has become the principal ingredient from the anti-pasta right to the dessert. Extra virgin olive oil is a condiment for friselle (bagels), is traditionally used to fry vegetables or to preserve them in summer for a stock to enjoy in winter. It is an accompaniment to the bounty of the sea like octopus rissoles, pasta and chickpeas (durum wheat flour cooked with chickpeas, with part of the fried and crispy pasta). Also shortbread cookies and tarts, before modern advertising intervened, were made with Salento extra virgin oil.

 

A cucina salentina è mediterranea per eccellenza e su tutto trionfa un filo di olio extravergine di oliva che diventa ingrediente principale dall’antipasto fino al dolce. L’olio evo condisce le friselle, si usa tradizionalmente per friggere gli ortaggi o metterli sottolio d’estate per avere una scorta in inverno. Accompagna le bontà di mare come le polpette di polpo, i ciceri e tria (lagane di semola di grano duro cotte con i ceci, con una parte di pasta fritta e croccante). Anche la frolla di biscotti e crostate, prima dell’avvento della pubblicità moderna, veniva fatta con olio evo salentino.


To both climate and terroir must be added man’s toil in the field in harmony with the types of olive-growing and at the press where the milling technique contributes to determining the quality standard of extra virgin olive oil DPO of Terra d’Otranto. The production Rules designate as ideal, olive groves “situated below an altitude of 517 meters above sea level, whose terroirs of limestone dating from the Cretaceous era, with patches of lime from the early and middle Tertiary era and extensive lime-sand-clay sedimentary deposits from the Pliocene and Pleistocene era, make up brown or red soils, often present in alternating patches, lying over limestone rocks.”

“Spacing between plantings, the farming style and the pruning systems must be those traditionally used, or in any case, designed so as not to change the characteristics of the olives and of oil A maximum density of 400 trees per hectare is permitted.”

To ensure quality for the consumer, for P.D.O. extra virgin olive oil Terra d’Otranto a maximum yield of oil from the olives of 20%.  “Even in exceptionally favourable years, the yield must be accurately calculated so that overall production does not exceed 20%.” The harvesting of olives intended for the production of extra virgin olive oil with ‘Terra d’Otranto’ controlled Protected Designation of Origin must be carried out by 31 January of each year.

P.D.O “Terra d’Otranto” extra virgin olive oil for release for consumption should have the following chemical and organoleptic characteristics:

  • colour green or yellow with slight greenish highlights
  • medium olive fruit odour with just the right degree of ripeness with slightly leafy hints
  • medium fruity flavour that suggestive of olives of just the right degree of ripeness. Medium to light hints of spiciness or bitterness depending on the time of harvesting. Furthermore, depending on the time of harvesting and of the prevalent variety, the fruity aroma mingles with impressions of olive leaves, freshly cut grass, thistles/artichoke/chicory for the Ogliarola variety, or tomato/berries for Cellina.
  • Panel test score >=6.5
  • maximum acidity 0.65%
  • number of peroxides =<14 Meq O2 /Kg

Related Regions

Lecce

Brindisi

Taranto