Andrea Lucarelli and Andrea Cecconi, 28 and 30 years old, after two years of hard labour, have recovered 16 hectars of an old abandoned olive grove. Today they produce an oil for connoiseurs: Dop Colli del Trasimeno Bio, but also monocultivar Frantoio, Leccino and Moraiolo.
by Emanuela De Pinto
Working on this cruel soil, with nets between their hands and boots on their feet, they resemble fishermen and woodmen at the same time. In this environment, olive growing, the extreme one, is done like this. Andrea Lucarelli and Andrea Cecconi, 28 and 30 years old, are cousins, and they are the minds and arms of Azienda Agricola Stoica, in Località Piccione, between Perugia and Gubbio, Umbria. They are extra virgin olive oil producer, but also modern philosophers. The name ‘Stoica’ is an homage to the greek philosphers of ‘Stoà’, that endured pain, sacrifices and adversities to give order to the universe.
To reach the olive grove, 16 hectars with more than 4 thousands plants of Moraiolo, Frantoio, Leccino, Dolce Agogia and Pendolino, isn’t easy. The path is ardous, and after a certain point you can only access it with a off-road vehicle. Once you reach it, your gaze gets lost among the soft green hills towards the line that divides the sky and the Earth. There’s nothing else around. Only a sense of freedom and isolation from the rest.
The recovery of the olive grove planted in 1953
The idea of producing extra virgin olive oil came in 2013: they both had experience in this sector, and when they found this abandoned place, they thought of recovering the olive grove planted in 1953, working day after day with their bare hands, since the slope doesn’t allow the use of mechanized vehicles. The first oil was born in 2015. The field is terraced: this guarantees a lot of sun to the plants. A the same time it’s an obstacle for agricultural machines, and the harvest is exclusively manual. “Aware of the risks of market – say the two producers– we’ve decided to recover our identity: Umbria is one of the most suitable territory for olive growing, yet there are many abandoned olive groves. The people that buy and taste our oil, join in a project with a strong etical and environmental value”.
Dop and monocultivar
The olive grove is divided by varietals, and is entirely certified organic, allowing the production of Dop Umbria Colli del Trasimeno Bio and the monovarietals, the excellence of Azienda Stoica. Here the labels 100% Moraiolo, 100% Frantoio and, the rare 100% Leccino, are born. The Leccino oil, in particular, is light but with surprising vegetal flavours: grass, artichoke, green almond, and a delicate balsamic hint of fennel.
Azienda Stoica produces an average of 10.000/150.000 kilograms per year. After the harvest, the olives reach the fridges to avoid oxidation, then go to the mill for crushing within a few hours. The facilities are ultra modern, using ultrasounds. It is an innovative techinque that “excites” the water molecules in the olive paste, raising the temperature necessary to extract the aromas, without damaging the organoleptic qualities of the product. Once separated from the paste, the oil is centrifuged, filtered and bottled with nitrogen, lasting up to 30 months. As soon as it is produced, monovarietal Leccino has 0,2% acidity, and over 7oo milligramms per kilogram of polyphenols (on their website the report of the chemical analysis is available for download).
The exquisite Stoica oil is destined for national and international markets: England, Japan, United States, Germany and Australia. This high quality production justifies the final price: Dop and monocultivar Leccino and Frantoio, cost 15 euro for half a litre, 8 euro for a 250ml bottle and 4 euro for the 100ml bottle. The top of theor production is Moraiolo 100%, with a price of 20 euro for half a litre, 10 euro for a 250ml bottle and 4 euro for the 100ml bottle. The label is washable and against grease.
In Umbria it can be purchased calling the producers in their office in Perugia or writing to firstname.lastname@example.org for a delivery in Italy, or contacting the many specialized stores and restaurants in the area. Alternatively it’s possible to order through their website, that has an English version.
In 2016 they had two international recognitions: Gino Celletti with the title Monocultivar Olive Oil Bio, has given a golden medal to their Leccino 100%, and then a prize for the restaurant business, Copenaghen Olive Oil, that celebrates the best olive oil for Scandinavian recipes.