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Olive harvest, white truffles and trapadare

Another year goes by and another olive harvest completed.

I couldn’t now imagine life without the cycle of looking after the trees and then seeing the fruits of all our labour; this wonderful, fresh, peppery, green oil. This is the third year that we have completed the harvest with friends and family from the UK who have come out to share the experience in return for board and lodging. Hard work but great times – working in T-shirts, cooking outside on a big gas burner and then drinking around the fire. Many are back for their third year.

With the oil collected on Friday and on its way to the UK we have a few days to relax and put the house together before we too make out way to the UK. So I accepted an invitation from a good friend to go truffle hunting. Deep into woods before the sun had fully risen in a spot that he keeps very secret; we are in search of the much-prized white truffle. He has an exceptional dog and we are back home by 10.00 with about 200 grams of white truffles, which in rural Italy fetch about 2-3000 euros for a kilo (less than half that for the inferior black truffle). But few of the hunters that I know ever sell their truffles. They are a delicacy that they share with their friends – and sure enough my find gave me 3 good sized truffles. Probably worth about 150 euros (but much more I suspect back in the UK).

I plan to take them home with me and eat them with fresh homemade pasta, butter and a little nutmeg.

And then for lunch we have invited out a family that help us farm our land to a local very traditional restaurant. Food here is always seasonal and to celebrate the olive harvest this restaurant makes a local delicacy, trapadare, a pasta shaped like an olive leaf and served with frsh green olive oil, dried black olives, anchovies, and red peppers (and as ever in the Abruzzo a little chilli oil to garnish). Delicious and only served for 20 days in October. I love these traditions.

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