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Made in Lake

DOP Oil

Gaetano Brusati is the President of “Cooperativa Olivicoltori Lago di Como”, a cooperative of olive oil producers founded in 2011. “There were twenty of us when we started out, but now we have sixty members”, he says. These olive growers share a common commitment to promoting their industry in the lands around Lake Como, adopting environmentally friendly agricultural practices according to the guidelines provided by the cooperative’s own technical experts. “The sense of the cooperative was to bring together and give a voice to the small producers on the lake. Some of us may only make 100 litres of oil, but together, as they say, we are strong. It is rare for an olive grower to make great quantities alone as the terraces on this lakeside are narrow”.

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With the olives provided by its members, the cooperative produces DOP certified Laghi Lombardi Lario olive oil. Overall production is over 2000 litres from about 3000 trees. “There have always been olive trees here on the lake, at least since Roman times”, continues the President Gaetano Brusati, “but things have changed over the centuries. During the boom of the silk era, it was the mulberry tree that was king, and then the it was the vines for wine. However, on the lake’s western side the art of the cultivation of the olive tree has been handed down through the generations and the tradition has been maintained. The eastern side has in recent history always been more industrial than agricultural, but over the last few decades, pioneers centred around Perledo, have striven to revive the production of olive oil here”.

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The Cooperative is itself based on that eastern shore, and relies on the production of high quality oil. Several times they have been awarded first prize in the light fruity category in national competitions, as classified by the Gambero Rosso Guide, with special “3 leaves” recognition. “There are no comparisons with other producers in Italy, in terms of our DOP certification”, Brusati explains to us, “over Italy generally seven to eight percent of the producers are DOP classified, while our percentage levels in this area stand at eighty percent”. The oil from the lake has bitter and spicy scents, synonymous with great value.

Many shopkeepers, hoteliers and restaurateurs of the area use it in their kitchens or offer it for sale as a gastronomic souvenir of the lake.

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Since 2015 the cooperative has opened its headquarters and its own store “La Bottega dell'olio” at Perledo (LC). As well as olive oil and local olives in brine, the cooperative also sells secondary products whose ingredient include the DOP oil, including dark chocolate, panettone, nut bread, crunchy focaccia, grappa and bitter liqueurs.