Michele Canosa is our Italian connection. He’s married to Deirdre Doyle from Aughrim and they reside now in Michele’s hometown of Armento deep down in southern Italy. Life in Lucania has never been easy; it’s like Connemara, but with sunshine! Michele has been a stalwart supporter of organic artisan food production from his native region and is the founder of Imex Lucania. Michele supplies our Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to us, along with other traditional artisan products.
Antonio Craca is our organic olive man in Olefici Masturzo, and is heavily involved in both the selection of the olives and the oil production. He is also in continuous contact with the organic certification authority, ensuring that the oils are produced to exacting organic standards. The Masturzo pride in the Lucania region is evident in the sheer quality and unmistakable freshness of this oil.
Greg Goode has been talking the hind legs off us and has been part of our kitchens for as long as any of us can remember. As soon as the village of Armento came into our lives, Greg was down there, not just checking out the produce, but also the people and the place and has indeed returned several times since then in order to truly understand the South Italian flavours that we are now so lucky to enjoy here in Wicklow.
When we began to assemble our organic pantry for The Strawberry Tree, certain products such as olive oils, balsamic vinegar and coffee proved frustratingly elusive, so our friend Michele volunteered to help us find the remaining pieces of our organic jigsaw puzzle. Some time later, while roving through sun-kissed vineyards, olive groves and farms in his native Lucania region in Southern Italy, Michele stumbled across the Masturzo Oil Mills. This family-run company has been striving to produce the world’s finest olive oil since its foundation in 1923, four generations ago.
Michele created an affiliation with Antonio, a young man bursting with enthusiasm, and began supplying Masturzo Organic Olive Oil to us. Masturzo’s DOP Oils are made using time-honoured traditional production methods, fused with a stunningly comprehensive knowledge of modern technology. Only the finest olives from healthy organic green groves are selected for use. These olives are stone-ground to a paste as soon as they are harvested, and this paste is then slowly filtered through cotton, using only gravity to push it through. This process releases a rich, glossy oil of liquid sunshine.
Macreddin Extra Virgin Olive Oil is stored in for us in a special vat and later poured smoothly into the dark green glass bottles that it will be sold in, in our Store Room Shop. The glass is dark because the influence of sunlight can have a damaging effect on that deep, pungent, nutty green taste resident in all good quality olive oils. These litre bottles, lovingly branded with the Macreddin logo, can be found in every kitchen in the Village, including the Lucania kitchen of La Taverna Armento, where our organic oil is used exclusively by Greg. Meanwhile, as Greg keeps bantering on, he and indeed all of us here in Macreddin are extremely proud to have our name on the label of this very special olive oil.