[Sessa Aurunca, Italy] As we divulge one of the last of the agricultural, culinary gems that we unearthed in the Campania Region of Italy this summer, we attest with certainty (and a bit of cliche) that one good thing did lead to another. The mineral-rich volcanic soils of Monte Massico led us to the hills of Sessa where a mass of volcanic tuff, celebrated for its ancient ruins and wine varieties was widespread throughout the province of Caserta.
Encircled by the Gulf of Gaeta and nestled in the center of an astounding 7000 Olive trees on the slopes of the Roccamonfina Volcano, were the illustrious groves that make up Badevisco Farm. At 400 meters above sea level, the awe-inspiring sunset over Gaeta gave us the hypnotic feeling of being on top of the world. Once we snapped out of it, owners, Frank and Pena Cassetta brought us back to earth with a twilight tasting and private tour of their massive countryside, family-run establishment. We found ourselves immersed in their hospitality, bowled over by their enormous canopied picnic area, and
insanely envious of their rustic, outdoor, wood-burning pizza oven. After our tour of the olive grove we caught a glimpse of the production equipment and became familiar with the farm’s onsite teaching facility. We learned that aside from being ‘green’ in the sense that the organic company is both economically and environmentally conscious, Badevisco Farm is also educational. Though their instilled ‘learning by doing’ philosophy, they offer agricultural instruction to create and promote cultural interest in the discovery of the environment.
However, it was in the stock area where we discovered Badevisco’s beauty secret - an extensive line of Olive oil-based skin creams, shaving products, soaps and lotions. With the backdrop of Sessa Aurunca and its strong ancient influences the thought crossed our minds that perhaps the idea of using olive oil as a moisturizer is well, …ancient. Still, we were enthused by the notion that the extra-virgin olive oil we drizzled on our bread was the same emollient to moisturize the skin. With that, we tried the hand cream, which we found to be mildly scented, non-greasy, fortifying, luxurious and soothing to the skin. It was great fun to indulge ourselves in all things ‘Olive Oil’ at Badevisco Farm.
Since the Itrana Olive is the local variety of Gaeta, and is harvested and cold-pressed this time of year, we tasted Badevisco Extra Vergine di Oliva, Varieta Itrana. Our tasting notes follow:
Color: Green with a yellowish tinge.
Aroma: Fruity. Herbal. Holds the distinct scent of sweet apple.
Consistency: Creamy, Full-bodied
Taste: Intensely fruity. Green olives with slight hints of apple on the palate. Spicy and pungent on the back of the throat.
Abbondanza! Serving Suggestions
Pairs quite well with cheese. Can also be used with pasta or soup, with vegetables, and on pork. Great for dipping.
Azienda Agricola Badevisco
Via XXI Luglio Sessa Aurunca (CE)
Tel: 0823-938761 - Italy
by Nancy S. Mure