CusaniSodano is the brand of the Olivaia farm, which includes the olive grove and the Tuscus mill where the oil is made. Fabrizia Cusani, architect, urban planner and Urban Planning professor at La Sapienza University in Rome, and Giampaolo Sodano, journalist, former director of Raidue and Parliament Member, have chosen to become quality oil artisans with great passion and determination after having spent years working in communication and culture. In 1992 they began planting trees: today the farm is an olive grove brightened by the colours and fragrances of roses. In 1999 they found an old oil mill that had been founded in 1947, and refurbished it into a modern and efficient mill to complete the supply chain and guarantee the quality of their products.
How we Make our Oil
Fabrizia – The production of good oil is the result of mysterious balances. The right climate, the right soil morphology and the right variety of plants is not enough; the combination and equilibrium of these various factors determines the quality. Thus it is fair to say that the quality starts in the field, in the care with which every year and every season the plants’ growth, health, nourishment and the air they breathe is attended to. As has been the case for centuries, the olives reach the mill after a work day that begins at dawn and ends at sunset. I personally see to weighing them, taking care to divide them by cultivars and check their ripeness, already knowing what type of oil we want to obtain. Once weighed, the olives are poured into the hopper, where a conveyor belt takes them to the deleafer and then to the washing machine. Once cleaned, the olives enter the crusher. This is where my job ends and I pass the process on to Giampaolo.
Giampaolo – The modern crusher transforms the olives into a paste. This new technology allows me to intervene in the process, deciding, based on the olives’ ripeness and the particular characteristics of the cultivar, the rotation speed of the crusher and the load of olives entering, which determines some of the oil’s important organoleptic characteristics such as bitterness and fruitiness. The paste leaves the crusher and “slides” into the kneading machine. The paste is caressed by gentle warmth and an endless waltz that causes its cells to dilate; when complete, the paste becomes shiny and begins to release the first drops of oil. I check the temperature, which never exceeds 27 degrees Celsius, as all our oil is cold-extracted. Next I open the kneading machine and send the paste into the decanter, where centrifugation is used to separate the various elements based on their different specific weights, and the oil separates from the olive pit and the water. This is the conclusive moment: the result of everything we have done up to this instant, from cultivating the plants in the field, harvesting the olives, fine-tuning the machines, up to the quality of the oil. I feel, like all artisans, responsible for a job well done. We are at the final act: the oil passes from the decanter to the separator, where the oily must, a mixture of mucilage, water and oil, is definitively purified, “transforming” into extra virgin olive oil.
The blue doors of Frantoio Tuscus, where olives are transformed into olive oil, are located along the ancient Via Cassia crossing the lands of the Etruscans only 68 km from Rome and 18 km from Viterbo, the city of Popes, and below the medieval walls of Vetralla. The mill utilizes a combination of technology, professional know-how, tools and working methods that guarantee product quality while respecting community laws and above all, protecting consumers. Frantoio Tuscus is an artisan olive mill where the typical extra virgin olive oils produced reflect the biodiversity of the olive varieties of our land in Tuscia, and where excellent blends are created to meet consumers’ tastes worldwide.
L’Olivaiais a Certified Organic, Tuscia DOP (PDO) single-crop olive farm. It spans over the hills of Tuscia, between the Roman amphitheatre of Sutri and the Via Francigena, amidst four volcanic lakes that set the ideal climatic conditions for the olive trees’ growth. The olive grove extends over 20 hectares, has approximately 7,000 olive trees and is organized so that the harvest of the Leccino, Frantoio and Maurino cultivars can be carried out separately from the native cultivars of Caninese and Bolzone, following the various ripening patterns of each. The rose bushes planted at the beginning of each row of trees add colour and fragrance to the fields and mark the different cultivars.