In Abruzzo, November is far from being a dull and quiescent month. On the contrary, it is hectic, to say the least. Farmers have hardly recovered from the sweat and toil of grape harvesting that olive harvesting reaches its climax now and oil mills (in Italian “frantoio”, in the local dialect “trappète”) work H24 at full swing. Olive-growing is perhaps the most popular farm activity so no wonder then that even the tiniest village has its own “frantoio” where people carry their olives to have them processed, in a hustle and bustle of trucks, fork lifts, crates, cans and bottles.
Olive trees, along with vineyards, are the typical landscape of this area. A great way to enjoy this November atmosphere is visiting oil mills by mountain bike. Appetibilis joined Bike Team Bucchianico for this 25k ride up and down the hills surrounding the town of Bucchianico. Despite of the cool (or rather, cold) weather, a group of 50+ people gathered in the village square, ready to go. A stone’s throw away from the piazza, a fully-restored XVIII century olive oil mill can be visited. After, at a breakneck speed down the village alleys to the first – operating – oil mill.
Mill owners are always welcoming visitors and customers: savory snacks are offered to the bikers: pane ond’ (i.e. slices of bread with generous oil drizzles on top), raw ham, pecorino cheese. The least of our problems is to run out of calories! Soon after we left the mill, the track dives into the countryside, or better, UP the hillsides, till we reach a second oil mill factory. Here we can follow the process of oil-making right from the raw material to the finished product.
It’s almost time for lunch: no pain, no gain, though. A few kilometers steadily uphill is what we need to reach the top of the village again and enjoy each other’s company in the cosy Sala dei Banderesi. Polenta, sausages, pernil and an almost infinite choice of desserts are waiting for us.
Thank You Bike Team Bucchianico!