is the most noted olive oil variety of Tuscany, Italy, and
one of the most highly acclaimed oil varieties in the world. It
is grown commercially in most olive growing regions including
Italy, north Africa, Australia, Argentina and California. Under
the name 'Paragon', Frantoio olives have also well proven
themselves in most olive growing regions of Australia.
to its many noticed similarities to Frantoio, it was suspected
in the late nineties that Paragon and the famous Tuscan variety
Frantoio were in fact the same.
was confirmed in October 1998, when an Olives Australia Paragon
leaf sample was DNA analysed at the World Germplasm Bank of Olive
Cultivars in Spain and found to match the DNA of Frantoio. Olives
Australia then forwarded another 20 samples of its Paragon
mother trees to the Bank and in January 1999 confirmation
came through that every one of the samples had matched with
the DNA of Frantoio.
olive trees have been grown in Italy for centuries under
at least 19 synonyms such as Frantoiano, Correggiolo, Raggio,
Gentile and Razzo. However, Italian DNA research in late
1998 showed that 12 Frantoio synonyms tested were all genetically
different to some degree. (The cultivars studied were: Cellin
di Noardo, Taggiasca, Razza, Sargano, Correggiolo, Cimia di Bitonto,
Ogliarola, Leccese, Minuta, Razzola, Casaliva and Raja sabina.)
for interest, in Tuscany, Italy, an olive oil processing
factory is also called a 'Frantoio'.
the name Paragon, the oil content was tested by two independent
Australian laboratories in the 1994 season and found to be 23.5%.
Further testing was done at two harvest dates in the 1999 season
with 22.0% and 23.9% resulting (Soxhlet method using whole
fruit and standardised to 50% moisture). This variety has
provided high percentages of very high quality oil to processors
across Australia for many years. (Italian sources list the oil
content of Frantoio at between 21% and 23%.)
variety is self pollinating with high, constant productivity.
For growers choosing pollination, the recommended pollinators
would be Pendolino, Maurino or Leccino. The tree is early-season
in fruit-set and has an ovarian abortion rate which rarely
exceeds 10%, sometimes being as low as 1%.
(Paragon) produces a heavy crop ready for oil harvesting in the
mid-to-late season. The fruit ripens gradually which allows a
longer harvest window than faster-ripening varieties.
(Paragon) olives are small to medium size (2 to 3g) and oval in
shape. The olives have a pleasant nutty flavour when pickled.
When mature, the fruit are coloured purple-black, but at
the preferred harvest time for oil production are green and purple-green.
The highly noted oil is of fruity character, highly aromatic
and of leading quality.
(Paragon) trees are fast-growing and have been proven to crop
well in many parts of the world ranging from the cold of Tuscany,
Italy to warmer regions of southern Queensland and central
Argentina. (It should be noted that when grown in warmer
winter regions, young Frantoio trees can tend to put too
much energy into foliage growth at the expense of the first crops.
Until scientific research is done, it is recommended that Frantoio
trees showing excessive vigour in the third and fourth years
should have reduced quantities of irrigation and fertiliser
to bring them into flowering.)
(Paragon) has been proven to be one of the best varieties
to plant in marginal and tough conditions such as soils with a
high percentage of clay or rocks, and dam banks.
oil is so widely acclaimed that it is difficult to summarise
its attributes on paper. Here are some comments:
di Santa Tea (Reggello) - An estate bottled oil from Tuscany and
as the name suggests it's made from a single variety of Frantoio
olives, hence the premium price. I like the assertiveness of this
oil with its lovely green flavours." (A Buyers Guide to
Olive Oil, Anne Dolomore, 1994.)
the oils from the ... Frantoio ... present peaks corresponding
to the 'fruity' sensation in optimum quantity, along with a good
presence of 2-esenal, which adds to the 'fruity' taste a sensation
of 'fresh'." (Influence of Cultivars on the Composition
and Quality of Olive Oil, International Society for Horticultural
Science, Fontanazza et.al., 1994.)
we can list other varieties that are intended primarily for oil
extraction, and only in part for table consumption, ie. Leccino,
Razzola and Frantoio in particular." (Table Olive Processing,
International Olive Oil Council, 1990.)
[Frantoio] is rich in oil (between 17 and 22%) which is
very fruity, notably aromatic and of high quality." (The
Certified Olive Trees of Co.ripr.ol, 1998.)