Items offered include our world class olive oil, gift certificates for all of our establishments and other select retail items. The store also carries “The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual” (Artisan, June 2010).
Merlin Merchant Corp. has been importing our own label of olive oil since 2007. The third generation to run this olive oil business, which started our as an olive-growing operation way back in 1875. In 1916, the Family opened a frantoia that was, as they put it, "like a co-cop but not a co-op." Farmers from the surrounding area could have their olives pressed at the frantoia and take the resulting oil with them; those who had extra olives, or who wanted only the first pressing--the best oil, which they would serve to their family--would sell the frantoia their excess, and they turned around and started bottling and marketing it.
The business is now one of the biggest olive oil produces in Sicily. The frantoi has accumulated a patchwork of properties planted with old-growth olive trees across western Sicily. Today they hold the rights to land in which the roots of more than 30,000 trees grow. The frantoia is working to modernize the business. In 2006, they converted all the land the frantoia owns to USDA-approved organic cultivation, turning away from herbicides and pesticides.
The first fall after we met the frantoia, we traveled to Partanna to work up a profile for our oil. The first oils we got were on the lighter side; we were looking for more fruit and a fuller body. The second year we switched to a blend that's mostly Nocellara del Belice olives (which give the oil greenness, a core fruity flavor, and a luxurious body); a little Biancolilla for balance and sweetness; and some Cerasuola olives, which add almond, artichoke, and floral notes. The next year we arranged that all the olives would come from the family's orangic DOP olive groves, and since then ou roil has been 100% Nocellara del Belice. The olive trees stretch up along the gently sloping hillsides of the valley on either side of the Belice River. The trees are belived to be between 300 and 400 years old. The trees are hand-pruned, and the olives are handpicked. All these details, married to the sunlight spectrum of Sicily, matched with the volcanic soil, and influenced by the constant saline breeze from the Mediterranean, combine to make the oils from the frantoia so versatile and special.
We have expanded our line of products from this region to include another single varietal olive oil, Biancolilla Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is a more delicate lighter olive oil. We also started importing Grapeseed oil that is produced from 100% Sicilian grape seeds. We offer four types of Sicilian olives packed in brine, bursting with flavor like a jar of green sunshine from Sicily.
Merlin Merchant Corp.
457 Court St.
Brooklyn, New York
# 718-403-0033 Ext. 21