Valdottavo’s Unctuous Festa

Were you at the Festa dell‘olio at Valdottavo this past week-end? I hope, if you live locally, you were for the festa celebrates local production of Italy’s superb olive oil and we should all try to support this ancient and respected agricultural craft.

When you’re in a supermarket do you just stretch your arm out and grab any bottle of olive oil or do you stop to read the label? Italy’s olive oil production is being undermined by ‘contraffati’ – fake products. We’ve all heard about fake news but there are a lot of other fake things going around and olive oil is one of them. That’s why it’s so important to check your source. Life is too short to waste spending money on a product that is cheaper but doesn’t taste a fraction as good and, more importantly, doesn’t help our local farmers.

Valdottavo has been for centuries an area of prime olive oil production. Indeed, it’s one of the remotest areas of cultivation of the olive tree for which the whole Lucchesia is famous.

The week-end’s festa was a celebration of the great tradition of olive oil production. The number one task there is to get a decent bottle of the extra virgin stuff:

There were also lots of other things happening including this demonstration of judo, including its offshoot, kick and elbow boxing. I wouldn’t try to challenge any of these youngsters!

Art exhibitions, which are normally held on the first floor of the Teatro Colombo, were instead moved to a more accessible place further up the high street. Two artists exhibited. Paola Begliomini, self-taught and whose work is a wonderful example of naïve surrealism, had a representative collection of her paintings which combine naturalism with excursions into dream fantasy:

Giuseppe is also a part-time painter and his canvases display a finely observant eye to the landscapes and buildings of this part of the world.

His Deperian sculpture is a prime example of how even superannuated boilers can be put to new use. I’m sure if it had been signed by Tracy Emin it would have been beyond the pockets of most of us to buy.

The day proved sunny and the social ambience was most pleasant. Congratulations to the comune of Valdottavo and its lovely location for continuing with this unctuously sweet event.

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