In October and November, once the grape harvest is over, it’s time to pick olives. Our neighbours have been busy, raking the fruit off the trees, collecting it on netting spread on the ground. The boxes of olives are then taken along to an uljara to be processed into oil. One such uljara is Radojković in Bogomolje, along the eastern end of the island towards Sućuraj.
In addition to providing a processing service for others, Ivo Radojković also grows his own olives and creates a range of award-winning olive oils. At Uljara Radojković they believe in ecological farming methods, and use no machinery in the harvest that could damage the olives. Also, for a much higher quality of oil, they pick while the fruit is still green, just turning to yellow. We drove along to Bogomolje for a tour of the mill and to taste their oils.
The garden around the uljara is beautifully laid out with lavenders and olive trees, with a view over the nearby hillsides and olive groves. The outdoor kitchen can accommodate quite large parties, although we were only four. As we arrived towards the end of the afternoon, the pickers were still out working, racing against time and the incoming rain.
The processing plant is impressive, a close relative of the one we toured in Sicily. Unlike then, we actually got to see batches of olives being turned into beautiful green oil. The olives, along with leaves, twigs and other debris are dropped into a hopper, from which they are shaken onto a conveyor belt and through a blower to lose anything that’s not an olive. Next step is washing, followed by milling everything including the pips into a pulp. All that mush then goes into a centrifuge, and out comes oil.
Over in the tasting room, we get to try Radojković’s own oils. There are three pure olive oils, single varietals of oblica and levantinka plus a blend of both. The oblica has more spice to it, while the levantinka is more buttery. The blend, of course, combines the best of both flavours. Personally, I loved the fiery oblica! In addition to those, they also make flavoured olive oils by adding lemons or oranges to the olives being processed. They put the entire fruit in, 50/50 lemons and olives. The resulting lemon olive oil tastes amazing with anchovies or other fish, while the orange olive oil goes wonderfully with desserts. We really had to take a couple of those home!
Radojković oils have been winning awards such as “Best Olive Oil on Hvar” two years running, and Gold medals at the International Olive Oil Producers of the Mediterranean show. The tour and tasting here is highly recommended, and as we emerged at the end of the tasting, the sunset sky was glorious!
Find out more…
Uljara Radojković Bogomolje – Hvar on facebook
Uljara Radojković website