Every generation has planted for the next and gradually olives have replaced most of the grapes, with olive trees dating back to the 500 year mark. About 70% are dedicated to oil with the remaining 30% for the Giraffa and Nucidarra table olives. Pierluigi and his right hand man Sergio cure naturally and bottle. Pierluigi has two daughters, the older of whom, Gaia, who was a toddler when we first met, is now 13, and decides her own blend of olives to produce an oil for her own generation, under her own name.

pizzaSelinunte is a seaside town, mainly shuttered in the winter, but with enough eating places open that we did not lack for excellent seafood - the famous red prawns of Sicily being one option, which are as rich as our crayfish, and Spada (swordfish) being another, as well as Sarde (sardines) - along with excellent pizza at a place called Baffo's overlooking the sea, where it was a pleasure to watch the team devoted to pizza making. They had a great routine to watch and were very slick, patting out the dough into the right shape in seconds, then topping it and whisking it into the wood fired oven fueled on olive wood. They tasted great and we had one topped with one of the most popular vegetables of the region: eggplant. This, artichokes, fennel, capsicum, tomatoes, excellent giant oranges and powerfully flavoured lemons are found sold in the many roadside stalls you come across as you drive from town to town.

ruinsAfter visiting the ancient temples, we visited Pierluigi's olive groves again, flanked by about 6 dogs who took a shine to Thomas. His groves are now also used by the University of Palermo as a place to research the effects of water levels, presence of wasps and many other factors which can affect the growth and quality of the olives. Pierluigi intends to remain at the cutting edge of how to produce the best. His oil is naturally high in the polyphenol lignani which is thought to be anti-carcinogenic.

He sells directly to a few prestigious chefs in various parts of Italy, pressing various styles for them to use both raw and in cooking. We enjoyed a tasting with him of various types. They and he certainly do recommend cooking in quality extra virgin olive oil, and Pierluigi was surprised that anyone on our side of the world would think to do otherwise.