Keeping it in the family
29 February 2016
Our latest Contini blog is from Carina’s niece Sofia Di Ciacca, who helps run the family olive oil farm in Picinisco. The olive oil produced currently sits on all tables at Contini Ristorante and is used in the kitchen an Cannonball Restaurant. Take it away Sofia…
Our farm, I Ciacca, lies in Picinisco in Val di Comino. It’s been in our family for over 500 years.
After being abandoned for nearly 100 years, the farm has recently been brought back to life and, most importantly, back into cultivation.
We are the Di Ciacca family. Cesidio, Selina, Sofia (myself) and my brother Giovanni. Our family originates from Picinisco, although we were born in Scotland. My father’s father, Johnny, was born in I Ciacca. His grandparents, Cesidio and Marietta moved to Scotland in 1920 along with many other families from the area. My dad’s nostalgia along with his desire to regenerate the area is the driving force behind our company. After opening a small, award-winning boutique hotel, Sotto Le Stelle, my parents turned their attention to reacquiring the family farm, I Ciacca. As a family we hope the I Ciacca project, together with other initiatives in the area we’re working on will create employment and opportunities for the area while producing fantastic, natural and high quality wines, extra virgin olive oils and other speciality products.
In 2012, we started the process of reassembling and reclaiming the land. Since then we’ve been busy replanting almost four hectares of land which we aim to increase to 10 hectares in the future.
Our extra virgin olive oil is made by pressing Frantoio, Moraiola, Itrana, Leccina and Marina olives. This mixture creates an unmistakable golden green colour, with a light and fruity, yet complex, flavour.
Unlike our ancestors, we harvest our olives manually with the hel of electric brushes that make work much easier but do not harm the plant or bruise the olives. We separate the olives from leaves before they are taken to the mill on a daily basis. The mill operates continuously and is temperature-controlled. The oil is then bottled, unfiltered.
We are so pleased with our oil and have been lucky enough to receive some amazing feedback from industry experts.
Collaboration is also very important to our family business and we’re pleased to have the advice and support of the amazing winemaker, Alberto Antonini, in our adventure. With Alberto’s help, we’re launching our very first wine this year which will be available to drink during Picinisco’s millennium celebrations in 2017.
We also produce millefiori and acacia honey from our own beehives and jams and preserves made from the fruit foraged on the farm. We really live and breath what we do. Why not learn more about our products on our website, or, if you’re ever in the area, pop in and say hello!
Thanks for reading,
Why not join Sofia and the team at the first Contini Producer Supper at Cannonball Restaurant on Wednesday 20 April, 7.30pm.
Hear Sofia tell the family’s story, taste three vintages of their olive oil and enjoy a two-course supper with matching wine for just £30.00 per person.
Bottles of olive oil will also be available to buy on the night for a special Contini price of £13.95.
Interested? Book online now.