From Source to Table - Italian Style | The Olive Oil Source

From Source to Table - Italian Style

By Mary Dautricourt
August 24, 2011

How does a totally Italian ‘olive oil immersion’ program consisting of picking olives in the Italian countryside; learning about olive oil production using traditional methods and Italian cooking first-hand; and visiting local ancient villages sound to you? Two such weekends promoting Italian olive oil culture are being offered by OZU this November. Get out your calendar and start rolling up your sleeves!

Founded in 2005, OZU is a vibrant cultural and art center located in the heart of the Sabina region of Italy, just 55 km from the city of Rome, in a former candy factory. Throughout the year, OZU hosts artistic residencies and all sorts of activities and events including photography, ceramic, sculpture, yoga, theatre and dance workshops as well as cinema, music, food, and theatre festivals, promoting local culture for visitors and international culture for locals.

“Among the cultural activities we promote each year are olive picking weekends,” says Paola Simoni, of the OZU cultural center. “The aim is to promote olive oil culture. Our area is one of the most renowned in Italy for extra virgin olive oil production and we grow our own olives as well as produce a small quantity of organic extra virgin olive oil. During the olive picking weekends, we give a group of 10-12 people the chance to join us and learn how olive oil is made using traditional methods. We go to the mill and take home the fresh oil. We teach people how to cook using olive oil, and some tips of Italian cooking, as well as how to prepare homemade pasta. Moreover, we take our guests for a tour of this area, visiting ancient villages and natural beauties.”

The OZU olive picking weekends are November 4-7 and 18-21, 2011. You can stay from Friday to Monday or Friday to Sunday. For more information, please see OZU website, write to, or call +39 0765 885027.

OZU inspired a UK-based cultural agency that offers a range of support such as training, project management, strategic planning, organizational development, research, feasibility studies and evaluations to name itself Olivearte.

"The name of our agency links the culturally symbolic nature of olive oil and creativity, the oil that has fueled our most civilizing developments. It represents both our practical and idealistic attitude to culture and the work we do. We like the idea of growing things, be it food, ideas, artistic projects or visions for the future,” said founders Sandy Fitzgerald and Paul Bogen.

We thought you might be interested in reading more about these three cultural agencies and - even more - participating in one of the OZU Olive Picking Weekends!