A real treasure trove of flavors is hidden in the Goriška brde. The spicy aroma is provided by the olive grower Timon Brataševec, who extracts premium organic olive oil.
This year, with his Villa Eva brand olive oil, he participated in Bari, Italy, where the largest international organic olive oil competition – BIOL – is held. There, oils from all over the world are evaluated according to strict criteria. “We sent Istrian belica oil to BIOL to see how it would fare. And we received the two highest awards, extra gold, which is even more than gold. With this, we entered the guide of the best organic oils in the world,” with pride narrated by Timon Brataševec.
““Our vision is that the exchange of knowledge and tastes becomes more than just eating””
Villa EVA Olive Oil
Power is in knowledge
Goriška brda is the northernmost part of the world where olives are still grown. “We have a Mediterranean climate and winds that come from the Alps. This is how the warm sea air and the cold mountain air mix, which is obviously a good combination for a high-quality harvest,” explains the olive grower from Bri, who is convinced that the Slovenian olive industry is visibly strengthening. It gains strength through the exchange of practices and through familiarization with the innovations coming from Istria and the Institute of Olive Growing in Koper.
Brataševec observes that some Slovenian olive growers insist on the standard waiting for fruit maturity in order to obtain larger quantities of oil, while some introduce innovations. “One of the innovations we have introduced in our olive grove is that we press the oil before the olives reach full maturity,” explains the interviewee. “Certain varieties have a high oil content, others lower. When pressed early, we noticed that the olive fruits yield only six percent of oil, but if we waited for full ripeness, the oil content would be up to 18 percent. This means that by pressing earlier less oil, but the quality is much better.”
In harmony with nature
The art of obtaining premium organic olive oil is to respect nature. The plantation of the Brataševec family, on its slopes and in the nearby forest, is home to many birds and beneficial insects that maintain the natural balance, and there are also roe deer that grind their antlers on tree trunks and wild boars that repeatedly “plow” the ground. All this must be leased. Of course, the correct approach of the owner is also necessary when pruning trees, irrigating the soil, organic spraying, fertilizing… For additional natural fertilization, the owner of the plantation provides clover, which he uses to graze the plantation to enrich the soil with nitrogen.
When autumn arrives, Timon Brataševec points out the importance of the right moment for harvesting olives. He works with the experienced consultant Sandi Babič, who helps him determine the most suitable date. “Normally, olive growers harvest belica in November, last year we harvested it on September 23 and this year on September 24, and we achieved excellent results.”
Advantages of early pressing
The interlocutor reveals how the oil of early-pressed fruits differs from that which is pressed at full maturity: “With early pressing, we obtain oil with a higher content of polyphenols or antioxidants. The flavors are more intense, characterized by spiciness and an aroma of citrus and artichoke. In addition, our oil retains its green color for a long time, which is the result of continuous improvements in the production process. The oil is immediately purified with a special filter – this eliminates the residual water that may be present after pressing. This process helps to keep it longer. the freshness of the taste of olive oil is preserved over time.”
First oil dipper, then boutique tourism
Currently, the olive grower from Kozana is building his own press. “The proximity of the mill is key to preventing oil oxidation, as we will be able to press the olives immediately after harvesting. Above the press, we will set up a tasting area with a boutique tourist offer, where we will invite visitors to try our oil and try their hand at evaluating spicy notes,” o Brataševec spoke about the plans.
He sees great value in people visiting the plantation and tasting the olive oils live – it gives them a more authentic experience. “When they walk through the olive grove, they get to know all four varieties of olives we grow and learn more about the oil production process. This gives visitors a deeper understanding of our work and products.”
Even some renowned chefs in Slovenian restaurants use oils grown on the Brataševec family estate. The experience gained by combining food and oil in a hotel in Bled shows that they must be combined thoughtfully.
As a dot on the i
“Oil with a fine texture complements dishes that need a delicate accompaniment. It goes, for example, with raw fish or gently roasted white fish. In our special selection, we have already offered ice cream with marjoram, which we have enriched with white wine, known for its spiciness and bitterness. Contrasting the aromas together create a harmonious dessert,” emphasizes the interlocutor, adding that lovers of good flavors should first be advised before tasting the food and then let them explore on their own. Because it is your own experience and the brave combination of olive oil with food that can transform every meal into an unforgettable culinary experience.
Premium olive oil is a valuable addition that is used to enhance dishes just before serving the food. “Our vision is that the exchange of knowledge and tastes becomes more than just eating; it should become part of culture, tradition and personal experience that is passed on between people,” is a determined olive grower from Bris, who also talks about combining food and olive oil.