Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Ligurian Olive Grove

We may be in Nice but being so close to the Italian border demands a visit to the world famous olive groves of Liguria high up in the Mediterranean Valley of Argentina! The ROI Estate of Franco Boeri is only a two hour spectacular drive along the sky high autostrada through numerous tunnels as you pass along the Cöte d'Azur and the play places of the very rich and famous including Monte-Carlo, Monaco and Cap-Martine. As is often typical with borders, the tempo changes as soon as you cross into Italy and we see less expensive villas and more commercial enterprises particularly greenhouses of every description in every possible elevation! When you get to Sam Remo you follow the signs inland to the "Valle Argentina" and your destination village of Badalucco high up in the spectacular mountains of chestnut trees yet only 30k from the Mediterranean Sea.
The Boeri family have been cold pressing olives here since the early 1900's but the uniqueness of the valley was noted in Roman times when only "freemen" we're allowed to cultivate the olives. It has given rise to a unique variety of olive - the taggiasca  which Franco and his ancestors have made world famous through their cold pressing techniques and processes. With only 6000 olive trees on 26 hectares, the ROI Estate has won applaud from culinary chefs and restaurants the world over. It was wonderful to be taken on a tour of their mill and a free tasting of three distinct cooking oils. The family welcome visits all year to the mill and you can even send your children on a tour in season when they collect the olives straight from the trees and run through the process of production. It is evident that Franco and his family respect their unique environment and are making an extraordinary enterprise from their local olives. We left with lots of goodies and are sure to return again and again in the future. It is a fabulous trip with a delightful destination. However you can also shop online for their products here: