After already writing about the history of producing olive oil in Istria (and in Croatia) in general, I would like to introduce the vision and story of Family Galic to you, who have exchanged their busy life in a big city with a completely different (though not less busy :) ) lifestyle in Biloslavi /Istria. It is a small hamlet in midst of olive groves, meadows, forests - and in the vicinity of Groznjan, Buje, Motovun and Novigrad in the heart of Istria.
I met with Mr Boris Galic, who is the former Chairman of the Board of Allianz Insurance Zagreb, a position he held for 16 years.
Mr Galic, his wife Sanja and children moved from the capital Zagreb to Istria and are now producing high quality organic olive oil
and products based on olives.
My Istria: You have been in the corporate world for a long part of your career, also the Chairman of the Board of a large and known insurance company for many years until recently - and now you and your family live in Istria and are olive oil producers. How did it come this life & career change?
Mr Galic: First of all, I loved my job at Allianz. But I felt I was young enough to start something which perhaps brings less money, but much more joy & satisfaction. It started some 15 years ago, when I visited a friend in Istria. I liked the place, and then decided to buy a house there once an opportunity will arise.
We did buy an old traditional istrian house there and have restored and renovated it over the years. My wife is also from Buzet in Istria, so this was also one component to draw us to this region, of course.
My Istria: So, this means a complete change in lifestyle & environment :) Why did you decide to produce olive oil, and not for example wine, as the region is also producing good wine?
Mr Galic: There is of course wine production in Istria, and many good ones. However, it is recognised all over the world, that Istria is a region with great conditions for the production of superb quality olive oil. Besides this, olive oil is proven healthy and it enriches many traditional and international meals with its flavor.
My Istria: How did the production start and what makes your olive oil B10 First night different & specific, given that there are several other internationally rewarded olive oil producers in Istria already?
Mr Galic: We started planting olive trees some 15 years ago, and started with 5 trees, then 20. We used to come for weekends only at the time and planting these first olives was for our delight only. After a few years we planted a 100 more, then 300 more etc. At the moment we have some 1600 olive trees and we are thinking of increasing the number further. Amongst those are also some old olive groves that we bought & rented and are very proud that we managed to revive those & brush them up. Our first serious harvest was in 2010.
My Istria: The name of your olive oil is B10 First night - a very specific name. How did you come up with this name?
Mr Galic: B stands for Biloslavi, our village. 10 is associated with the year when we had our first harvest (2010), B10 is associated with vitamins (even though there is no actual vitamin B10 ;)) and vitamins are associated with health. Why First night? Olive is a fruit that needs to be picked healthy and processed as soon as possible. We cooperate with the best oil mills in Istria, which work day and night during the harvest season. every night.
My Istria: Flos Olei (the "Bible" guide for Best World Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the world) listed your olive oil as well. This must make you proud and is a sign of achievement, given that they also proclaimed Istria the highest quality olive region in the world in 2017 & 2018?
Mr Galic: As olive oil gains on popularity and recognition, there are more and more olive oil competitions in the world. We are happy to get recognition through such contests but even more important is the satisfaction and appreciation of “real folks”. More and more people distinguish quality from fake products which unfortunately also exist in olive oil world. Our mission is to produce olive oils which are organic, with character and harmony and I think we are on a good track.
My Istria: Besides the production of olive oil and products based on olives, you just opened an Oleotheque. Please tell us more about that.
Mr Galic: We offer a visit to our Oleotheque (tasting of our olive oil & opportunity to have a glass of wine from local wine producers) and a visit to the olive groves. We want to show our guests that we actually live here and that we are personally involved in all stages of oil production & presentation. Ideally, they would like to organize smaller groups of visitors to make the experience & approach more personal. We lived a different life in a big city for a long time, so we can identify with the guests coming from crowded busy cities and & lifestyles and can relate our story and change in life to them.
We consider that a visit to our Oleotheque and olive groves itself would be a very nice experience, as the location itself is beautiful - with a beautiful view of the river Mirna on one side and even the sea when it is a clear day. Our village Biloslavi was a former railway station on the famous Parenzana route and is close to Groznjan and Motovun.
B10 Istrian fusion
Vrh Kostanjice 78d Groznjan
GPS coordinates: N 45°22“11““, E 13°45“27““
E mail: [email protected]