Among fields and old oil mills, festivals and initiatives, the love of a people for one of the excellent products of Mediterrean diet.
Olive oil is considered being Apulia region's gold (Puglia). Apulia produced almost 2 million tons of oil annually. Vast expanses of olive groves are the backdrop of this land exposed to the sun, and bordered by the sea.
The millstones and old mills, represent the ancestral respect and devotion of this people for this special tradition of flavor.
In some villages of Salento, placed along the coast or in the inland, the cultivation and care of olive trees, authentic monuments of nature, is a costum, a fine art with a long story: from pruning to harvesting, from grinding to consumption.
Olive oil represents a strong attraction for the whole territory starting from Salento area to Gargano peninsula. From the mountains of the Daunian sub-Apennines to the slopes of Serre Salentine, you are completely astonished by the great and noble centuries-old olive trees, that have become part of the landscape.
From north to south, there are countless lands allocated for these crops, many of which are used for growing organic farming. However, for a wine and food tour in the region of Apulia aimed to the discovery of PDO olive oil, it is worth visiting the main production areas. The travel starts with the oil Collina di Brindisi, produced in the homonymous area of Brindisi and in the municipality of Carovigno, Ceglie, Messapica, Cisternino, Fasano, Ostuni, San Michele Salentino, San Vito dei Normanni and Villa Castelli.
In the whole area of the province of Foggia is produced the extra virgin olive oil Dauno (PDO).The olive oil Terra d'Otranto (PDO) comes from the lands of the province of Lecce and many cities of the province of Taranto.
Finally, the olive groves of the city of Bari and of the surrounding areas, produce the extra vergin olive oil named Terra di Bari (PDO), which includes the oil Castel del Monte, Bitonto, Murgia dei Trulli and of Grotte. If you want to know more about Ostuni and its thousand year-old-trees, please take a look at the following link.
In an attempt to honor this ancient tradition, Coldiretti Lecce (Federation of Italian Farmers), Repubblica Salentina and some of the best mills of the peninsula, have created “Benvolio”, an event dedicated to new freshly pressed oil produced in many oil mills in Salento area. It is a sort of festival that every year celebrates the so-called “green gold”, the primary food of the Mediterrean diet.
In the following three weekends, between late October and early November, there will be held many activities such as olive tastings, olive harvest, meetings, and guided visits for students.
A rich program covers a myriad of events, some of which are organised by individual farms, while others are orgnised by groups of participating mills.Among the initiatives: a guided and training tours for families or students that want to take part in harvesting and pressing of the olives.
One of the organisers of this event is a group of students from Repubblica Salentina that in recent years has been the supporter of numerous initiatives created to spread the knowledge of the area and to increase tourism.