A brief excursus on the main varieties of national olive oils introducing the main characteristics of these Italian cultivars: how they are spread, the fruits’ defining aspects and the quality of the extra-virgin olive oil that is extracted from them.
Let us start with the Frantoio variety, which is of Tuscan origin but is also widespread in other areas. Here we have one of the most widely cultivated plants, both in Italy and in the rest of the world. Such widespread circulation is due to its special characteristics in terms of production and quality, which, along with the Leccino and Moraiolo varieties, make it a prevalent cultivar.
It is a medium-sized tree, which grows robustly and has twisting and sloping branches with thin and flexible fruit-bearing appendages. The leaves are spear-shaped, medium in size and are a lovely bright green colour. The fruit produced is a long oval shape, medium in size, in colours that range from light green to purple-black. It is a cultivar that is deemed to be easy to grow, lends itself well to mechanical harvesting, and adapts to different types of soil.
The plant is self-fertilising, which is another great advantage compared to other cultivars as it allows for a higher yield and a better chance of pollination. The fruits are harvested in the second half of November and yields in oil reach around 20%. It is also known as: Razza, Correggiolo, Gentile, and Frantoiano.
The extra-virgin oil obtained from the Frantoio variety is dark green with golden hues. The oil is of a very high-quality and fine, aromatic, savoury, slightly spicy and slightly bitter with fruity notes and hints of fresh grass, artichoke, rosemary and almond.