The Millers Series: Domenico Bianchini from Bianchini
We love Olive Oil.
And really, we should. We know the land where it comes from. We have felt the breeze through the hills. We have sat in the shade of its trees. We have smelled the scent of the blossoms and then were there to pick the fruit when it was just right. And when the oil came out of the press, we were there to taste it. But beyond the terroir, what really makes the difference, or rather who – is the miller. The man or woman, who with love, passion, science and gut creates for us – liquid gold. So, actually it’s them we love.
This is the sixth in our series of mini-interviews with our partners, the artisan farmers who bring us some of the most amazing EVOO available on the planet. We think that once you know them like we do, you too will feel the love. Today we meet Domenico Bianchini, the namesake of our Bianchini Cartoceto DOP. He was born among the olive trees and thankfully is still there today making outstanding oils and wines.
1. Name, first and last: Domenico Bianchini.
2. Where were you born? Cartoceto, Le Marche on the 12th of October, 1945
3. How has the place where you were born influenced who and how you are? In my opinion, birth place has a minimal influence on who and how you are, outside of the basic human nature to be attached to one’s territory of origin. Instead, “who and how you are” is influenced predominately by the world outside of your place of birth. This world that I have searched, that I have traveled through, that I have appreciated and shared. All this wealth of experience combined with my origins and my character, style, etc… I believe that they also influence the way I interpret olive oil: the noblest and most natural food that exists on our beloved planet.
4. What did you study? Enology at Conegliano Veneto. Being in the area of agriculture, while there, I also had the opportunity to study olives and oil.
5. Were your studies connected at all to your future work? YES. My family was already operating in this sector, with wine, olive oil and also fruit. Today, in addition to the vineyards and olive grove, we also have an orchard with 1400 Angelica Pear trees, a fruit that is characteristic to this region and a recognized “biodiversity” product of Le Marche.
6. How old were you when you knew that making EVOO was your mission? One could say that it has always been so. My father was an administrator for an olive mill and an olive tree nursery so it was really among the olive trees, olives and oil that I was born. I grew up living submersed and surrounded by these experiences. In 1989, along with other producers I founded an Olive Mill cooperative and was the president for 10 years.
7. What is your favourite dish prepared with your EVOO? Spaghetti or Rice dressed with Cartoceto DOP, garlic, peperoncino and parmigiano.
8. What makes your EVOO different from others produced in your region, in Italy and in the world? Simple: The harvesting of olives by cultivar. I believe that the right degree of ripeness of the olives is responsible for 70% of the final product’s quality. Because different varieties ripen at different times, it goes without saying that if we want to capture the ultimate expression of the oil’s quality, the different cultivars should be harvested separately and at different times. This is how we harvest our trees which include Leccio, Raggiola, Frantoio, Moraiolo, Pendolino and Maurino. Then, two of these, Leccio and Raggiola, are created as a single cultivar oils, each having their own unique characteristics and food pairing matches. The Cuvée, on the other hand, is a blend of six types of olive oils which have been extracted separately. At the end of the harvest a sensory analysis and evaluation of each oil is made and then a blend is created that among other things is richer in polyphenols (antioxidants). It is our business philosophy that while wine is “sensory hedonism”, olive oil is a “healthy duty”. Or in other words, when one buys an oil they should take the responsibility of chosing an oil that is good for them, spicy and bitter and rich in polyphenols instead of one that is simply greasy, which sacrifices the palate and is bad for the stomach.
9. If you controlled the Olive Oil world, what measures would you put in place to improve it?
Olive Oil culture, information and education for school age children.
10. Who or what inspires you and your work? Passion and love for what I do.
11. When you are not working in the olive mill, what are you doing? Wine…. and other work.
12. If you weren’t an olive miller, what would you be? A Pilot.
13. What is something you can’t say no to? Can’t say.
14. The book on your bedside table: a mystery by Andrea Camilleri
15. Your favourite song in your iPod: “Chiamami Ancora Amore” by Roberto Vecchioni
16. Your favourite cult classic film: “Dead Poets Society” directed by Peter Weir in 1989
17. Your most memorable vacation: Naples, Rome and Venice coming back from Greece
18. Where have you never been, but would love to go? North America.
19. Accomplishment that you are most proud of: My family