Between the tree and the bottle, there is a step in the creation of premium olive oil that few people give a second thought. That piece of the process is blending — and without it, olive oil as we know it simply wouldn’t exist.
In the popular imagination, the process is simple: ripe olives are harvested, oil is extracted, and then beautiful bottles of some impossibly pure product are shipped to your corner store. In fact, an incredibly small percentage of olive oils are made from a single variety of olives raised by one grower. The best oils are made by blending, a process that allows producers to showcase the very best of every olive that goes into the final product.
Eons of cultivation have led to different types of olives with unique personalities, and a great oil has a mix of the best qualities from a variety of them. It’s not mathematical, simply mixing two parts Moresca with three parts Rotondella and one part Cellina di Nardò; that kind of math gets very complicated very quickly. In Italy alone, there are 21 varieties (which we call cultivars) of olives in widespread cultivation for oil (and another few hundred grown in smaller quantities), each with a different flavor profile — and each of them have properties that can be heightened by blending with complementary flavors from other varietals. Further, each of those cultivars has been grown in a different place in the country, in different soils, with different sun exposure, in different weather patterns, and on trees of different ages — all things that will affect the nutritional and flavor profiles of the oil.
To complicate matters further, many of olive oils’ properties — particularly flavors — are completely subjective. There’s simply no way to optimize olive oil production scientifically. It has to be done by people with incredible palates and incredible minds.
Which means that creating olive oil is just that — a creative act, and blending is the art that lets us make a masterpiece.
This Art of Blending is the step in olive oil production that sets Zucchi apart. We study it, we honor it, we delight in its mysteries. We believe you can taste the artistry in every bottle of Zucchi.