On Friday, January 29, a group of 17 students, eager to learn about famous Italian olive oil and Roman style pizza making, took an hour long bus ride to Palombara Sabina, just north of Rome. Once they arrived at the La Cucina Sabina, they were offered coffee in addition to a brief historical overview from our host, Giuseppe, about the importance of the Sabina area in olive oil production which dates back to before the founding of Rome. One of the students commented that “This was a really fun trip. It was both informative and hands on. The olive oil host was very knowledgeable.”
The group hopped back into the bus for a scenic tour of the Sabina area. The tour ended at an ancient olive grove owned by Augusto and his family for about 300 years. Even though the family has owned the grove for 300 years it has been around since the time of Christ. When touching the trees it was like touching 2000 years of history.
Even though the trees have been the same for the last 2000 years, Augusto uses modern methods to make his oil. Giuseppe and Augusto showed the students around the modern mill that is used, not only to make the oil for Augusto, but also for many of the land owners in the area.
Afterwards, the students returned to La Cucina Sabina where Giuseppe explained how to know a good olive oil from a bad one, followed by a tasting of the olive oil made from the olives at the villa.
Pizza is one of the most typical Italian foods, and there was no better way to end the trip than learning how to make this authentically Italian dish. Each student experimented with making their own dough. Then they walked outside to the brick oven where they were able to roll out their own pizza and top it with fresh ingredients like mozzarella, sausage, eggplant, bell peppers, and of course, olives.
Everybody sat on the patio of the villa where La Cucina Sabina is located and enjoyed pizza, sun, and good conversation until it was time to head back to Rome. Another student noted that it was an “Awesome trip and break from busy city of Rome.”
If you missed the trip but are interested in your own olive oil tasting, you can order the olive oil from the tour on this website.
Check out the other trips and activities offered at John Cabot University throughout the semester here.