A batch of 120 new olive trees have just been planted in a stretch of woodland between Bidnija and Wardija as part of an initiative by the Mediterranean Culinary Academy to produce olive oil from olives purely endemic to Malta.

Trees at the grove between Bidnija and Wardija.Trees at the grove between Bidnija and Wardija.

The ‘Bidni’ olive variety, which also lends its name to the resulting olive oil, is found only on the island. It produces a limited amount of olive oil due to its necessary early harvest.

The olive groves are owned by the Grima family with whom the Mediterranean culinary academy has partnered up to produce this unique product. 

The family has taken it upon itself to embark on a planting and harvesting programme that will see a substantial increase in the yield of Bidni olives. Through the newly planted olive trees, they hope to be able to support production of the variety for future generations.

“We produce Bidni olive oil as we feel that it is extremely important to encourage people to use local produce that is endemic to our island,” Kurt Mifsud, CEO at the Mediterranean Culinary Academy, said.

The idea is to continue working towards creating an ethos that gives local, sustainable products the importance they deserve

“The recently-planted trees are very much an investment in what we feel is the future of this product and the way people look at endemic varietals. We have already seen a lot of interest in not just the oil but in what it represents in Maltese food culture, and we hope that, by planting these trees, people will continue to support high quality local products.”

As a product-driven food academy, the Mediterranean Culinary Academy promotes local produce in its courses and workshops.

 “We love using Bidni olive oil as it has a very unique flavour – spicy, aromatic, fruity, and with a peppery bite to finish. It is a really versatile Maltese product, ideal as a finishing oil, and perfectly suited to dress a salad or any simply-cooked vegetables, fish or meat,” Mr Mifsud said.

Unique flavour – spicy, aromatic, fruity.Unique flavour – spicy, aromatic, fruity.

Speaking on behalf of the Grima family, Immanuel Grima added that this focus on local produce is an initiative that the Academy is trying to foster across several areas.

Another project is in fact currently underway, with chefs from the Academy working with a local chocolate producer to start infusing locally-produced chocolate with other endemic Maltese products like the Bidni olive oil.

 “The idea is to continue working towards creating an ethos that gives local, sustainable products the importance they deserve,” Mr Grima said.

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