Olive pressing in Pisciotta

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Genaro shows Hilary the olive grinder in his basement

The Greeks were the first to press olives over 5,000 years ago. Their traditional way of pressing hasn’t changed much since then and still produces some of the finest olive oils in the world.

At Pisciotta – a beautiful coastal town in Campania, not even mentioned in our guide book – 81 year old Genaro, the father of our Airbnb host, Luigi, showed us round the ancient olive grinder and press in the basement of his house.

A donkey used to turn the huge grinding mills, to crush the olives to create the olive paste, which was then put into the olive press to create Extra Virgin (the first press), then Virgin (second press) and then ordinary olive oil (Subsequent pressings).

Luigi told us that the trees Around Pisciotta are amongst the largest olive trees in the world, but they produce the smallest olives. And 2016 has been a very bad harvest: no one knows why.

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