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The Armato’s Alassio

The Armato’s Alassio
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 The Armato’s Alassio

An intimate look at one family’s enduring commitment to olive oil.

It rained upon arrival in Alassio, the small seaside town in Liguria where the Armato’s renowned frantoio and shop resides. It was a surprise to see the glistening tiles on the platform, but the rain did little to dampen the town’s charm, bedecked as it is with the bright colors and charismatic architecture intrinsic to the Italian Riviera. 

The Armatos live above their frantoio and shop in Alassio. 

We met Mirko, our point of contact from the Armatos, right outside the train station. We immediately set off to the Armato frantoio and shop, where we were promptly greeted by Rosie and Francesca, both long-time employees of the Armato family. Further inside we met the Armato family dog, who proved to be a very willing tour guide. 

Rosie and Mirko outside the Armato’s shop in Alassio.

The shop is separated from the actual frantoio by a mere wall so we easily split our time between both. Mirko, who has been with the Armato family for two years, walks us through the production process. He turns on the frantoio (which translates to olive press) to showcase how the colossal stone discs work to crush the olives. 

Mirko and Tegu show off some of the equipment the Armatos use to harvest their olive oil.

The Armato family exclusively uses olives of the Taggiasca variety harvested from an ancient grove planted in the hills just above Alassio. The powerful stone discs work to crush the olives for a prescribed amount of time – just enough to process the olive meat while leaving the pit untouched. The paste that is crafted from the meat of the olive is then deposited onto a handmade rope disc that rotates as the paste piles higher and higher. That paste is then moved to the olive press to extract the oil and juices, which are then separated to produce that glorious, buttery olive oil the Armatos are renowned for. 

The Armatos take pride in their delicious Sciappa olive oil and selection of dry goods.

Mirko then walked us through some of their products we had not tried such as their pesto, a delectable pepperoncino paste, porcini mushrooms, and charred artichokes. Our favorite discovery of the day was a house special – the famed Armato olives suspended in a piquant pepperoncino oil. Seeing our enthusiasm, Mirko gave us a pack to bring home to New York; delicious little souvenirs from a brief but unforgettable first visit to Alassio. 

Tegu reminds us to visit soon.

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