On Friday, November 4th, Student Services and 12 John Cabot students traveled an hour north of Rome to La Cucina Sabina, which sits nestled in the countryside of Lazio in the town Palombara Sabina. After arriving, students were offered a homemade breakfast in addition to a brief historical and cultural overview from our host, Giuseppe, about the importance of the Sabina area in olive oil production. The olive oil culture of the area dates back to before the founding of Rome and is one of the oldest in the world.
After the introduction, JCU students were able to harvest olives using various methods, including hands, rakes, and mechanical devices. The olives that 12 students were able to pick in about 45 minutes would be able to make 5 or 6 bottles of olive oil at the mill.
The day continued with a visit to a nearby modern olive oil mill, where Giuseppe explained the process of pressing the olives into olive oil. Here, we also learned about the certification process that makes Sabina DOP a highly prized commodity not only in Italy, but around the world. The final portion at the mill was dedicated to sorting table olives from olive oil olives. Make sure you brine your olives before you eat them, or you might be in for a surprise!
Afterward, the students returned to La Cucina Sabina, where Giuseppe explained how to distinguish a good olive oil from a bad one, using as examples the local supermarket brand and the freshly pressed olive oil made just the day before from La Cucina Sabina’s own grove.
Pizza is, of course, one of the best-known foods of Italy, so there was no better way to end the trip than enjoying this authentically Italian dish. Everybody sat around the table in the villa where La Cucina Sabina is located and savored pizza and good conversation until it was time to head back to Rome.