Every year we use out of season period to explore more and visit our new potential partners. We heard island Šolta hides some great olive oil production, in the tiny village Gornje selo. We were group of five, all sharing the same passion for local products and heritage. Gornje selo is a village on 100 meters elevation and overlooks the whole island. For centuries locals lived from their soil, and now these days that is almost lost unfortunately. That is why we wanted to see Olynthia, family owned olive oil production. We were welcomed by Frane Kaštelanac, the proud owner who took us first to see his olive oil trees, some of them more than one hundred years old. There we found out what is necessary to make olive oil and all other interesting details . His whole family is involved in the production and we were all impressed how they all enjoy in what they do. They have been growing olives and making olive oil for four generations. Their main goal has always been to preserve the traditional way of growing and harvesting, but also they are focusing on new technologies in pressing and storing the oil. They are doing everything to avoid mass production and trying to achieve sustainable production by growing only olives unique to Šolta island and local region.
The olive mill
Next, we went back to production area to learn the process and to see what machines are needed to make the oil after the fruit was picked from the trees. Very interesting indeed but also quite complicated, although we believe it's lot easier than wine making. Their olive mill is really state of art, allows three different batches at the same time. Once processing starts, there is no time to waste because highest quality of the oil can be achieved only if oil is made in the 12 hours time from the moment of picking from the trees. Processing takes roughly 45 minutes and the result is delicious, cold pressed olive oil. It is important to mention that family Kaštelanac mill is not only used to make an oil, but also for sharing experiences and informations between all olive oil makers of the island.
Once oil is made, it has to be kept in stainless steel tanks, packaged and labeled, all on one place to preserve all healthy ingredients of this unique product.
Last few years , Frane realized he can have groups of visitors and show them all details about growing,processing, storing and enjoying the olive oil... So now all year long he has visitors ( booking in advance needed) no matter are they passing by or located on the island for multiple days.
Food & olive oil blending
Personally we were anxious to try his oil , and that was really outstanding experience. Frane gave us a lot of informations but no too much, he is really a good speaker. We sat down and didn't really know what to expect. Basicly, they are blending different kinds of olive oil with different food and wine. Frane's son and wife are in the kitchen, covering that part of the story. Wine's that Frane has are from local producers, carefully selected and blended with his products. We were really blown away by the quality of food and the way the whole story is packed. Deserts at the end were invention from Frane's wife, all of them really unique and very tasty. Some of their olive oils go very well with deserts, we were all very surprised how tasty was that together.
It's surprising how still relatively not many people know about this place, we could say probably it's better like that. Frane says they will never expand cause that will mean drop of quality. Their plan is stay small and keep the level of quality highest possible.
We wish them all the best and look forward to our next visit to Gornje selo and Olynhia-olive oil heaven!