Istrien - die Genussregion des Jahres 2017

Istrien - die Genussregion des Jahres 2017

In 2017, Istria was voted the best olive oil region in the world by the Flos Olei test magazine. According to the Italian "olive oil bible", 61 of the best 500 olive oils come from Istria. And that is no coincidence: the centuries-old Roman heritage combined with careful harvesting by small family businesses results in a unique quality.

Flos Olei about the Istria gourmet region

Marco Oreggia confirms the current trend of Istrian olive farmers, who are constantly working to improve olive oil production and use innovative methods to grow olives, while at the same time remaining true to their traditional craft. In fact, the prevailing climate and the good soil composition favor olive cultivation in Istria.

The development of olive cultivation - a history that goes back thousands of years

The first olive trees were cultivated by the Romans in Istria as well as in Poreč, Ćervar Porat, Barbariga and on the Brijuni islands as early as the 4th century BC.

In the 7th century, Croats settled on the eastern Adriatic coast and gradually began to promote olive cultivation. A further incentive was given by the Serenissima, but the peak of development came at the end of the 18th century, when there were 30 million trees producing an average of 20,000-30,000 tons of olive oil per year.

The 20th century saw a rapid decline in olive cultivation, caused by the expansion of the vine - the number of trees fell to two million. Olive cultivation was neglected during the communist regime. However, families conscious of tradition have always continued cultivation on a manageable, small scale.

Today in Croatia we find around 3.5 million olive trees covering an area of ​​19,100 hectares. Cultivation is extensive in steep and inaccessible areas, while it is less intensive where the soil favors easier cultivation. Most olive groves are up to 50 years old, followed by those younger than 10 years and those up to 30 years old. A small part are the oldest areas, which are centuries old. This also includes the island of Brijuni, where the oldest olive tree is known to exist: it is already 1,600 years old.

Growth and development of the Istrian gourmet region

vodnjan istrien

The small streets of Istria

pula zentrum

Center of Pula

pula-theater

Amphitheater Pula 

The current trend is towards growth. In the four olive regions – Istra, Kvarner, Northern Dalmatia and Central-Southern Dalmatia – the most important olive varieties are:
  • Istria: Istarska Bjelica, Buža, Carbonera, Leccino
  • Kvarner: Slivnjača, Slatka, Orkula, Rošinjola, Leccino
  • Northern Dalmatia: Oštrica, Drobnica, Leccino
  • Central-Southern Dalmatia: Oblica, lastovka, Levantinka, Coratina, Leccino
We have also put together a detailed description of the olive varieties for you. Many of these varieties are endemic, i.e. native, such as the popular varieties Buža, Istarska Bjelica or Rošinjola, which are very popular for olive oil pressing. Other varieties were mostly introduced in the 1940s from Italy, often from Tuscany: These include Leccino or Frantoio. There are around 21,630 farms and 160 oil mills in Croatia, most of which are small use a continuous cycle extraction system. In the last decade, the average oil production was around 4,000 tons. In the 2015/2016 harvest, a quantity of 5,600 tons was produced. In olive oil production, a distinction must also be made between Istria and southern Dalmatia (Dalmacija): While in Dalmatia, less can be harvested per tree due to the soil and its dry climate, they try to press as much oil as possible. In Istria, on the other hand, the harvest takes place very early in October in order to keep the quality as high as possible. Even though there is a new development in olive cultivation, per capita olive oil consumption in Germany and Austria is still very low and is between 1.0 and 1.5 l per capita per year.

Olive oil production in the Istria gourmet region

Here you will find a short excerpt of olive oil production in Istria. The most famous oil mill, valued for its high quality, is in Bale, the home of Agro-Millo. By the way, Agro Millo's olive oil is of course available in our online shop ;-) Just grab it now! photos by fotolia: 113081860 - © xbrchx, 129768713 - © Romas Vysniauskas100293477© kaycco
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