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MY ISTRIA GUIDE

Chiavalon - Visit to one of the most famous olive oil producers in Istria

Chiavalon - Visit to one of the most famous olive oil producers in Istria

Learn how to taste olive oil from professionals

The MyIstria team set off on a journey to spend quality time together and get to know each other even more. And where to spend better time than in Istria with some delicious food. As true gourmands with a lot of curiosity, the road took us to Vodnjan, a small town in Istria that is full of small producers of quality olive oil.

For the tasting, we chose Chiavalon olive oil, one of the most awarded olive oil producers in Croatia. The hosts and excellent experts of this liquid gold of Istria welcomed us generously in a beautiful setting for olive oil tasting. We have to admit that this was our first experience in tasting olive oil, and we didn’t know what to expect. Thinking we knew all about olive oil, we were soon amazed at how much was actually behind this famous oil.

small-glass-bowl-of-olive-oil-and-spoon-over-it-with-oil-dripping-from-it-and-olive-branches-on-a-wooden-table

For starters, the hosts showed us a section of the olive grove located near the family home, to see where the whole story began. Considering that we were there in the period before the olive harvest, at the end of September, we also heard some interesting facts about the harvest itself. Then the most interesting part for us followed, and that is the tasting..

In a beautiful small setting, there was a tasting room with table and chairs where we were greeted by delicious food such as homemade sausages, cheese and homemade tomato sauce. There was an unusual oval glass on the table, containing olive oil. Before the tasting, the next step was to get acquainted with the tradition and method of oil preparation. The hosts first tell the story of their olives, known for the two grandfathers or “nonici”, one who loved fish and the other who loved meat. This is how various flavours of olive oil were created, from the less bitter ones to the stronger ones with more bitterness. They introduced us to the story of how and when olives are harvested, when they are harvested for which type of oil, which varieties are used, how they take care of their olive groves, and the awards they have won.

Olives-fall-into-a-sack-full-of-olives-on-an-olive-grove-and-olive-trees-blurred-in-the-background

Before the tasting itself, we were given instructions on how it is done properly. The first step is to pour a small amount of olive oil into the glasses. In order for the oil to have a more intense smell and taste, we had to warm it up a bit first, covering the glass opening with one hand and the bottom of the glass with the palm of the other hand and then rotating it. Then we took a deep sniff of the oil. Each of us got a different impression of what the oil smells like, which of course depends on its bitterness.

Then we moved on to the testing part. For this occasion, we tasted the oil "Ex Albis", of medium strength. The oil is consumed in small amounts, and it is desirable that the olive oil is "shaken" throughout the oral cavity to capture all the receptors. When you swallow the oil, you feel a slight warming in the throat and bitterness. This way we learned to distinguish the olive oil bitterness, so we could later know which sort to use in different dishes.

a-hand-holding-a-small-glass-into-which-olive-oil-flows-from-a-bottle

We had a blast with this tasting at Chiavalon and realised how much of a difference there really is in oils, how it is real art to make good olive oil, but also to evaluate its taste and quality.

After the tasting, we moved to a small shop as part of the tasting area, where we could buy oil as desired. Here we additionally tried which oil we like the most. Of the types of oils available: Romano, Ex Albis, Mlado, Istra, Organic, Atilio; arranged in this order according to strength and bitterness, they can be used to prepare or add to various dishes. From other products, you can also buy homemade tomato sauce and fig products. Fun fact: the olive oil “Organic” can be used as an addition to chocolate desserts ;)

We then headed to the oil factory, not far from the family home, to see the process of olive pressing and final packaging at first hand. We recommend to every olive oil lover, to visit Chiavalon and get to know this wonderful family tradition of olive oil production. And some pictures at the end…


Kristina Nikesic

29.11.2021
 
+385 1 222 70 50