D.O.P - Collina di Brindisi
What is D.O.P.?
D.O.P. stands for ‘Denominazione d’Origine Protetta’, or ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ when literally translated into English.
It is assigned by the European Union to indicate a product that owes it’s characteristics to it’s place of origin, and it’s production, modification and processing occur within that geographical area.
The most famous examples of D.O.P. products include Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padana cheeses, or Aceto Balsamico (balsamic vinegar) di Reggio Emilia.
D.O.P. ensures that the products are produced and packaged within the protected geographical area and guarantees that the food was produced by local artisans using traditional methods.
Collina di Brindisi
Collina di Brindisi literally translates into English as ‘Hill of Brindisi’.
Brindisi is one of the main cities located in the southern half of the long, thin region of Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot. To the north west of the city is an area typified by rolling hills, containing the communes (town council areas) of Carovigno, Ceglie Messapica, Cisternino, Fasano, Ostuni, San Michele Salentino, San Vito dei Normanni and Villa Castelli – only olive oil produced within these communes can be considered for D.O.P. Collina di Brindisi status.
Collina di Brindisi was one of the first olive oils to achieve the coveted D.O.P. status, in 1996.
The criteria which an olive oil must meet (aside from the geographical area of production and packaging) are intended to be much more stringent than other extra virgin olive oils, to ensure a higher level of quality and taste. For Collina di Brindisi these inlcude the following:
* Cultivation – only traditional methods can be used, so as not to affect the quality of the olives or oils which might result from the use of artificial fertilisers, pesticides or weed control.
* Harvesting – must be harvested only by hand or other mechanical means.
* Extraction – the oil must be extracted solely by mechanical means – i.e. no chemicals or solvents to assist the process – and no use of heat above room temperature used (known as cold-pressing).
* Acidity – as with all extra virgin olive oils, the free acids % must not exceed 0.8%, or 8g per 100g of oil.
* Olive tree variety – at least 70% Ogliarola, with the remaining 30% coming from Cellina di Nardò, Coratina, Frantoio, Leccino, Picholine and other varieties ‘common in the territory’.
* Time from harvest to press – the olives must be pressed within 48 hours of being harvested from the trees.
* Yield – the yield must be no more than 25% (so no more than 25kg of oil for every 100kg of olives pressed).
* Peroxide - peroxide content must be 14 meqO/kg or below (the lower oxidisation the better the shelf life).
* Oil Characteristics – the oil should be green to golden yellow in colour, have a ‘medium’ fruity aroma, and a fruity/spicy/bitter taste.
Why is D.O.P. Important?
The simple answer to this question is - soil.
Different parts of the world can have very different properties of soil. And the various properties of a region’s soil can have a huge impact on the crops that are grown there. As with wine, the exact same grape variety can be grown in two different regions of the world and produce very different wines – this is why Champagne can only be grown in the very small Champagne region of France, as the same grape grown elsewhere would not produce a wine with the same particular qualities that make Champagne, well, Champagne. Similarly with Parmigiano Reggiano – the cows that produce the milk for this cheese must live within a specific geographical area, and only be provided with feed grown within this specific area, in order to qualify as D.O.P. Parmigiano Reggiano – as if the same cows consume feed grown outside this area it will have an impact on the end product, so cannot be classified as D.O.P.
And so it is with Collina di Brindisi – only olives grown on trees from the soil in the very specific geographical area within the Province of Brindisi can produce olive oil with the Collina di Brindisi D.O.P. classification.
In addition to ensuring the consistent quality of the end product based on a region’s soil, as outlined above D.O.P. classified products are also a guarantee that only the best traditional methods have been used in the production, processing and packaging of the product.
Why choose Boccadoro?
The vast majority of extra virgin olive oils are harvested on a large scale, involving tractors and other machinery to speed up the process and increase productivity. Only a handful of small producers rely on centuries old traditional techniques, completing the harvest entirely by hand. This is a far more precise and delicate approach, which ensures the structural integrity of the olives prior to being pressed, improving the overall quality of the oil.
Being a small estate, Boccadoro is also able to control more precisely the point at which the olives are harvested, and the mix of ripe/less ripe olives making up each batch for the press. This means the oil is consistently well-balanced, with medium fruitiness, bitterness and spiciness. The most notable characteristic of Boccadoro oil however, is the piccante aftertaste – this is what really takes your food to the next level.