AZIENDA AGRICOLA RAVIDA
This delicious organic extra-virgin olive oil has placed Sicily firmly on the quality olive oil map. In 1993 Ravida became the first Sicilian oil to win a national competition.
The Ravida family, now based partly in Rome and partly in Sicily, have been associated with the beautiful La Gurra estate since the mid-eighteenth century. Situated in the southern
part of the island near Menfi, the estate is dominated by the sixteenth-century farmhouse which overlooks the Mediterranean sea facing the Greek temples of Selinunte.
There are 130 acres of olive groves and no acres of vineyard as well as lemon groves and fields of artichokes and wheat. The farm is run on organic principles and no artificial fertilizers or pesticides are used.
The olive groves are planted with Cerasuola and Biancolilla and a small number of Nocellara del Belice olives. The latter variety can also be used to make table olives. The harvest starts in the first week in November when the Cerasuola turns from green to violet and while the other two varieties are still unripe.
The olives are picked by hand with the help of vibrating combs which allow the olives to fall into nets placed under the trees. They are then processed by the cold centrifugal system within eight hours of being picked. The oil is unfiltered.
This distinctive oil has an intense aroma of tart apples and cut salad leaves with just a touch of tomato skins. After a while the aroma softens and the tomato skins increase. The flavour is equally definite with olives, apples and grass moving to a bitter pepperiness. The aftertaste is attractively smooth with a flavour reminiscent of sweet-sour sorrel leaves.
Nicolo Ravida, the present owner, is deeply committed to teaching people how to enjoy olive oil to the full and the estate is used for culinary events and cookery courses with top chefs.
Cut two bulbs of raw fennel into quarters and place in cold water for 10—15 minutes. Rinse, drain, and slice very thinly. Slice 1 orange and i apple. Mix all three ingredients in a bowl with bitter salad leaves, such as rocket, and black olives. Season with salt and plenty of Sicilian extra-virgin olive oil.