Liguria is taggiasca country, so much so that it’s rare to see any blends here; it’s also traditionally harvested quite late, well into November and beyond. Fratelli Fresia buck this trend. Fabrizio Fresa and his brother own 10 hectares of land with around 2500 olive trees. The fact that their trees range from 100mt to 600mt above sea level gives an idea of the steep, terraced terrain they farm.

Fabrizio tells us that, contrary to tradition, and in order to raise quality levels, they are harvesting much earlier – as soon as the middle of October. This gives their oils a much lower acidity and more pronounced bitterness than you usually get in this part of Italy.

We tasted two oils from the Fresias. The first, the ‘Cru Foena’, is their flagship oil. Milled within a few hours of picking, the olives come from a small grove in a valley 400mt above sea level. Only around 1,000 bottles are made each year. The second, their ‘Extra Cultivar Taggiasca’ comes from a selection of oils from their other groves. Both are monovarietal oils from taggisca olives and have the usual ripe fruit with the added notes of spice and bitterness that the early harvesting confers.

In common with many other oil farmers in this part of Liguria, the Fresias also make an excellent pate’ from their ripe olives as well as selling them in brine for the table. They also bottle local anchovies.