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Benza | Benza Primuruggiu Extra Virgin Olive Oil 750ml

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Primuruggiu is the premium amongst premium olive oils.  It is an extra virgin olive oil made with 100% taggiasche olives. According to Gianni Benza, the taggiasche olive “reveals its soul to you” in this exquisite oil. The oil is called primuruggiu, which is the local dialect term for the first-flow or first trickles of the stream, and symbolizes the low yield of oil obtained from the olives. Primuruggiu is favoured for its award-winning flavour, aroma and its ability to enhance any dish.  It was awarded ‘Best Single Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil’ by the Slow Food and Gambero Rosso editors in 2007, and the ‘Tre Olive’ Award in 2009.

Immediately after harvesting the olives by hand, they are pressed into a paste by millstones.  The paste is then spread onto straw mats that have sportines in the centre, which direct the flow of oil into a storage container below.  Normally, the mats will be placed on top of each other, and pressed very heavily to extract olive oil.  For primuruggiu, the straw mats are piled on top of each other, but they are not pressed.  Oil drips immediately.  There is a yield of only 9 kg of oil from 100 kg of olives. Because the olives are not pressed, no bruising occurs.  This means that the flavour remains delicate and perfumed.

Description: Primuruggiu has a delicate, almost floral perfume, with smooth, yet gutsy, rich and rustic olive paste flavours and texture on the palate.  It has a distinct sweetness and an intense bouquet.  It has extremely low acidity.

Traditional/Common Use: Perfect for making Pesto Genovese or drizzling together with a squeeze of lemon over grilled seafood. 

The Benza family has produced olive oil at an ancient frantoio (oil mill) in the Ligurian town of Dolcèdo since 1853.  Today, Gianni Benza, his wife Claretta Siccardi, and their son Gigi, cultivate olives throughout the lower Val Prino, at Dolcèdo, Civezza, Imperia and Prèla.  The family has also established a modern frantoio at Imperia, employing strictly traditional production techniques.

The lower Val Prino lies between the Riviera di Ponente (the coastline) and the peaks of the mountain hinterlands.  This valley has been renowned for the production of taggiasche olives since the 14th century.  The species was developed many years ago by Benedictine monks in the town of Taggia.

The Benza family manage approximately eight hectares of olive groves, with more than 4000 trees.  The olives are cultivated on terraces, at altitudes between 200 and 600 metres above sea level.  The annual production is approximately 12,000 litres.  In addition to the oil mill, the family also runs a small agricultural-tourism business.

Price: $62.50