Media and Awards

/Media and Awards

Australian International Olive Award winner shares life long passion with olives

Good oil: Mick Labbozzetta of Kyneton Olive Oil, whose basil agrumato won the award for best flavoured olive oil at the Australian International Olive Awards.

PAOLO Inturrisi’s love affair with olives started when he was just a child.

He earned his first wage picking olives at a farm in the Sicilian town of Solarino as a 10-year-old and later worked at nearby olive groves harvesting and pressing the fruit.

It was in Italy that he learned the agrumato method of infusing the oil, which involves pressing the olives with fresh fruit — such as ­lemons or oranges.

While the Sicilian migrated to Australia in the late 1960s, it was not until 2001 that he fulfilled a long-held dream of having his own olive grove.

Bylands Estate was born on 200ha he bought near Kilmore where he planted frantoio, correggiola and man­zanilla trees.

It is now run by Mick Labbozzetta and the late Paolo’s sons, who have continued the family tradition of making traditional Italian style extra-virgin olive oils.

Last week at the Australian International Olive Awards the company — now trading as Kyneton Olive Oil — took out the award for best flavoured olive oil for its basil agrumato.

Mr Labbozzetta said the basil came from AMV Fresh, a fruit and vegetable wholesaler at Epping Market.

“I can’t tell exactly how much basil we use, that’s a trade secret, but you could say it was a truck load,” he said.

The olives were mechanically harvested and pressed in May following a particularly good season.

“We had a very good year, our trees were very heal­thy,” Mr Labbozzetta said.

About 130 tonnes of olives were picked, up significantly on last year’s 34 tonnes.

Tasmanian producer Cradle Coast Olives won the coveted Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil, while Gooramadda Olives, near Rutherglen, won Best Table Olive and Best Table Olive Southern Hemisphere awards for its kalamata.