How To Enjoy An Olive Grove Tour In Alghero
The beautiful island of Sardinia has a lot to boast about. The superb emerald waters and amazing beaches are just two of the attractions that have tempted visitors to its shores for decades. The island is steeped in history with archaeological sites that are legacies of ancient cultures that once inhabited Sardinia. The landscapes have been moulded by time to make this ‘Island of Winds’ a truly unique place on earth.
There is a host of things to do and see when visiting this lovely island and your days will be filled with sunshine, sea and a superb atmosphere and welcome from the people of Sardinia that’s both warm and inviting. The hospitality of the island is second to none, no matter where you happen to be. There are amazing harbours here and one of them is Alghero which nestles nicely on the west coast of the island.
The surrounding countryside is quite exquisite with acres of olive grows and vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see. After having visited all the wonderful ancient sites of the region, one really relaxing and nice experience is to take a tour around the olive groves that abound here.
There are some lovely places to stay at including the Agriturismo Vessus which is set in the most tranquil area imaginable. The farmhouse sits amidst the olive groves and is a great place to choose as a base for an adventure in Sardinia. Although it is superbly peaceful, the farmhouse is about 10 minutes from the sea and the main town, so the location is really idyllic.
For centuries the olive tree has been an important part of the Italian way of life and today there are dozens of varieties grown throughout the land. The olive oil produced in Italy is revered the world over as some of the best in the world. In Sardinia it all started under the Spanish rule in the 14th and 15th centuries when the cultivation of olive trees really began to be seen as an important agricultural crop. The Spanish passed a law that olive farmers on the island had to plant a minimum of ten new olive trees every year and if a farmer owned in excess of five hundred trees, then he had to build is own oil processing mill.
Today the olive oil that is produced in Sardinia has its own unique taste and flavour that has evolved over the centuries. The oil is often a deep golden yellow colour with green hues in it and has the aroma of apples and the splendid Mediterranean flowers that grow in abundance on the island. Its’ taste too is very distinctive with a slight bitterness of artichoke which is balanced by a hot peppery after taste. Olive growers in Sardinia are fiercely proud of the oil they produce as being some of the best in the world.
In Sardinia, as throughout Italy, the production of olive oil is strictly monitored and just like for wine, there are certain standards that must be adhered to so that the quality always remains superb. Olive growers have to earn the status of DOP which stands for Denominazione d’Origine Protetta, translated this means ‘protected designation of origin’, just like wines have ‘appelation controllé’ in countries like France and Italy as well as other wine producing ones.
Touring around the areas just outside Alghero, it is hard not to be impressed by the landscapes and the olive groves all set in a countryside that is extraordinarily beautiful. A great way of touring this region is to rent bikes and then take your time enjoying each and every place you come across. There are some marvellous farms to find en route where you will be welcomed with open arms. You will be able to see how the wonderful olive oil of Sardinia is produced here on these farms. You get to sample the oil and there are some places that will organise lunch, so not only do you get to sample the oil, learn how it is produced, but you get a great traditionally prepared Sardinian meal as well and all this is a friendly family atmosphere that will make you feel more than welcome. One such marvellous place in the farm holiday resort of Villa Barbarina which is surrounded by olive trees that are centuries old and fine vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see.
The quality of Algherese olive oil is such that it is considered as ‘gold’ and the centuries old traditions of how it is produced has formed a tight bond with its farmers to their lands in the most unique of ways. Driving or cycling around the area is really an adventure, because you just don’t know what you will find around the next corner. Very often there is just a little sign at the entrance to dust tracks which have the word ‘olio’ written on them. This is where you find the lovely isolated farms that sell their wonderful oil and there is always a selection to choose from.
If you are looking to take some of the best olive oil in the world back home with you, then these are the places to buy it from. These lovely secluded farms that nestle in the amazing landscapes outside of Alghero need to be discovered, and the best way to do this is to go off exploring when everything else in town is shut. You get to try the oil before you buy it, and there are some truly delicious flavoured ones which you might not have ever tasted before. So to sample before you buy is a great way of seeing which one you like best.
Sardinia is a splendid island, the coastline is gorgeous and the towns delightful and none more so than Alghero. But it is the surrounding countryside with the olive groves and vineyards which are just waiting to be discovered and then explored. It is this that makes the island so enchanting. It is an experience of a lifetime not only to find superb olive oil, but to meet some of the nicest people on earth.