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Keep singing to those olives, Enio ...


Oio de Buščina - care of Enio Zubin & family

"Is this the right place?" We were in search of Enio Zubin's award winning olive oils in the small Istrian village of Buščina? Pulling into a driveway just down the road from Konoba Buščina (owned by Enio's sister) we were not sure. There was no sign of life. We had made an appointment but were about an hour late. After ringing on the bell and knocking a few times, a shirtless gentlemen appeared on the balcony above - he was clearly not expecting us! Communicating in broken Italian and English, it soon became clear ... we were not and hour late, we were 25 hours late! Yes it was true, and my fault entirely on the dates mess up. Enio however was not going to turn us away empty handed, and five minutes later he re-appeared ready to host us and treat us to the fruits of his labour ...


He led us across the yard to his "tasting area" ... This was the real deal. Authentic through and through. No glitz or glamour, no trappings of modernity or sparkling tasting rooms. We settled into our seats at two simple picnic style tables, and out came the reason we were there ... the oils themselves. As Enio prepared the tasting he opened up - as the first olive oil was poured and as he started to speak of his trade, the smile appeared, the humour was revealed, and the pride shone clearly and brightly.


Oio de Buščina has 40 hectares of olive groves, grown predominantly on terra rossa, producing approximately 4,800 litres of oil annually, or 20,000 bottles. In the renowned Flos Olei guide of 2018, Enio's Črnica was recognized as best in the world in the category of mono-varietal, medium fruity oils, and made it onto their top 20 list of all extra virgin olive oils worldwide, with a score of 97. Not an easy accomplishment, and no fluke having topped the same category two years previously ...


"So, why are your olive oils so good?" According to Enio, there are two reasons ... the olives see the sea, and Enio sings to his olives ... after all, he explained, olives are female, and women love the sea and women love song ... Difficult to argue with that!


An authentic olive oil experience awaits in Buščina at Enio Zubin's Oio de Buščina

After a brief lesson and demonstration in how to taste olive oil, the tasting began. We started with Buža ... as gold star students, we warmed the oil in our hands, we took in air as we sipped it, we swilled for 10 seconds, and swallowed slowly ... Wow ... forte!!


We sat there, absorbed in listening to the stories of a family that had dedicated itself to this magnificent fruit, and who's recognition and rewards were undoubtedly the result of hard work and passion for their trade. We were joined by the charming lady of the house, who treated us to plates of olives, fresh bread, cheeses, the ripest of figs ... a veritable feast to accompany the remaining varietals, washed down with a modest pairing local table wine.

After sampling Selection, we moved onto experience what was arguably the highlight, the award winner and its partner in crime ... Bjelica and Črnica, White and Black, Male & Female, Yin and Yan, King and Queen ...


An extraordinary and sensory taste experience. For each of us it was different. For all of us it was memorable ...


It was difficult to tear ourselves away, but we did not leave empty handed. Villa Oliva needed this liquid gold, and I was ready for a mission to prove out Enio's intriguing recommendation of the perfect pairing ... pistachio ice cream with Črnica... Can it be good? All I can say, is trust Enio ...


Keep singing to those olives, Enio, keep singing ...

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