On our hunt for the best olive oil producers, Puglia was top of our list of Italian regions to visit. The reliable sunshine, fertile soil, and clean air make for the perfect conditions for the trees to thrive. And one family producer stood out above all others.
The name of the company describes the growing conditions that make their oils so unique – ‘venta’ means wind, which helps cool and air the trees to prevent disease, while ‘terra’, meaning earth, describes the fertile red soil that dominates the area.
Tenuta Venterra is an extraordinary organic artisan farm. We were so impressed by the efforts of Antonella and Rocca and their children Domenico and Angelina, we couldn’t wait to bring back a selection of their olive oils for these pages.
Doing things differently
Over 64,000 trees of traditional olive varieties such as Frantoio, Leccino, Coratina, Pecholine, Peranzana and Ogliarola are spread over 87 hectares. Some of the trees are hundreds of years old. But that’s where the similarities with ordinary olive oil producers ends.
Tenuta Venterra’s oil mill is housed in a striking modern building powered by solar panels on the roof. It’s partly buried underground to keep the organic olive oil cool and fresh – and fresh is an understatement at Tenuta Venterra.
Olives are handpicked and pressed within six hours. Modern technology helps get the maximum flavour from the valuable crop. The old ways might be romantic, but they can’t beat Tenuta Venterra’s approach when it comes to sheer quality and purity. Take the flavoured oils, for example. They’re made by crushing herbs and vegetables directly with the olives so they are as natural and flavourful as can be.
A brand to remember
The extra virgin olive oil is sublime. But it’s not just the product that they should be proud of – this enterprising family have created a brand that any food lover will appreciate.
Each and every award-winning bottle was inspired by perennially elegant Chanel designs. Antonella believes that a beautiful oil deserves a beautiful dress. The bold, colourful, opaque glass bottles certainly deserve pride of place in your kitchen - they’re quite a statement, in fact.