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Saul Good recently had the pleasure of touring behind the scenes at the Estate of Vancouver's own, Domenica Fiore in Orvieto, Italy. We stopped by the estate to discover how Cesare Bianchini, Direttore, makes legendary olive oil and why it has been winning awards across the globe year after year. 

“Five million years ago, this orchard was beneath the Tyrrhenian sea” explains Cesare as he sifts through a handful of sandy soil that reveals small fossilized shells. We stand in the drizzling rain amongst 10,000 olive trees. In the distance is the ancient town of Orvieto, Italy. Cesare invites us to look closely at the tiny details of their process. “The soil is full of minerals from the sea (calcium, mica, and iron). The olive trees love the lite sandy soil, because it is never heavy or muddy. The soil creates complexity in the olive oil.” As we examine the soil, a gust of wind catches the tiny pale green leaves on the olive trees and they flutter with elegance.



“Look at the base of the roots” instructs Cesare. “If you look closely around the base of the trees you can see the quality of the organic soil. Do you see the tiny wildflowers growing? These flowers cannot survive in chemicals.”

The Domenica Fiore olive orchard exists in an environment that is at the “edge of possibility”. It is almost too cold to grow, but it is perfect for growing organic. The soil and the elevation are the key components. These ideal conditions were established millions of years ago before the goddess Athena invented olive oil.



Once upon a time, volcanic activity caused the Tyrrhenian sea bed to rise and form the Apennine Mountains. As the earth ruptured and rose up, the minerals and nutrients of the sea were tucked into molten rock. When the sea bed rose to higher elevations, it became perfectly situated for growing truly organic olive trees. At this higher elevation, the colder temperatures provide protection against pest infestations, such as olive flies. In the Domenica Fiore orchard, the organic purity is protected by a thick forest that surrounds the property like a fortress.

“There have been times when the cold is extreme and the trees freeze to death, such as the frost of 1956.” explains Cesare. However, the roots never die and the trees can be reborn. As the tree regrows, it requires guidance and pruning that is like sculpting. There is a delicateness to these particular trees and they cannot be harvested by machines. All of the olives must be picked by hand.

“Our olives are picked as soon as they are ripe. This is an important difference that sets us apart.” explains Cesare as he welcomes us indoors to eat lunch. “In ancient Italy, the emperors were given the oil from the early harvest. Many olive oils are produced from olives that are overripe. This is done to increase the amount of the oil, but the higher quantity comes at the price of lower quality.” he explains.

Cesare invites us to partake in an olive oil tasting with locally grown green apples and crusty pieces of freshly baked baguette. The oil is a vibrant green. The first sip of oil is both fruity and pungent with tasting notes of fresh herbs and artichokes. The complexity is profound. “The oil is crafted by malaxing (slowly churning) the entire olive for 30 minutes including the pit. You cannot squeeze the oil out.” explains Cesare. “I love creating harmony between robust pungence and fruitiness.” he speaks of his craft with the adoration of a masterful artist or musician. 

Photo Credit: Saul Good/Domenica Fiore

“Although early harvesting creates a smaller amount of oil, it is worth it. Our method creates a very high concentration of polyphenols and very low acidity. This creates more intensity and health benefits. Cesare leans back and sips on white wine. He is surrounded by award certificates that cover a large wall and trophies that illuminate as daylight pours through the window. Each award verifies that Domenica Fiore is the best olive oil in the world.

The success of Domenica Fiore is well-earned. Cesare went to an Olive Oil school in Paris called Onnanoo and he has worked hard to perfect the art and science of his craft. The consistency of perfection requires a reverence for all the delicate details and a relentless expertise in science. In order to protect the quality of the olive oil, Cesare and his team conduct a process of vacuum sealing.

After lunch, he guides us through stainless steel towers where the olive oil is stored. It is then bottled using stainless steel and nitrogen gas. This prevents oxidation and preserves the vibrancy, purity and freshness. When your bring olive oil into your home, store it away from the stove at fifteen or sixteen degrees. Seven to ten degrees is too cold. A wine fridge is ideal.




Domenica Fiore is an example of a local Vancouver business that collaborates with folks who are in other other parts of the world. Although this olive oil is made in Italy, it is made in a way that nourishes the local Orvieto environment and economy while supporting a local Vancouver company. We are honoured and delighted to bring Cesare’s brilliant olive oil to your table in our Vancouver gift baskets.