It’s about 8 in the morning. I woke up after 3 or 4 hours of an anxious sleep. There isn’t even a slightest trace of sunlight in the room because of the shutters. I hear like Jacopo is moving around the kitchen, full of fresh energy and almost singing. It’s a new day. My first day here. Today I will see the Sicilian sun and the colour of the sky for the first time.
– Look, I made you a coffee… – fantastic – he is holding a tiny cup …
I brought him a poppy seed cake from my country, and it’s there, on the table, together with some brioches and a jar of Nutella. All sweet, even some fruits, sweet like hell. This is just how I’m starting to be here – by accepting this way of life, by absorbing it. I’m eating sweets for breakfast and drinking 3 teaspoons of dark bitter coffee, like if I would always have done it. And that’s beautiful – do not try to reject the New, the Unfamiliar. Just taste it, try to be part of it.
– Listen, I though I could take you to the olive orchard and show you how to collect olives. How about it?
Yes! Saharian air, Sicily and olive trees. The sky above is grey blue and a blurry sun operates like out of nowhere. The olive trees are not so tall as I would expect, but they are very branchy. Jacopo puts a woven mesh on the ground around the tree, so that the olives would not have a direct contact with the ground if they have fallen down.
– You know, they could acquire a slightly earthy taste then and even began to mold. I never take those which are already laying on the ground or even just have fallen on it. Look, I have a special comb that allows me to tap into the higher parts of trees.
Olives are harvested in Sicily on October or November and rather in the sunny days to avoid moisture. Jacopo loads them into the large plastic bowl, puts them into a truck and sends them to the oil mill where they are extruded.
This freshly extracted oil has very intense taste, scratching your throat with its bitterness. It is extremely rich in nutrients. Sicilians eat it with bread, they just dip a piece of bread in oil and that’s their first meal of a dinner. They are used to eat a light dinner at about midday, usually composed of bread or…granita…I mean ice cream…ice cream with bread again! But that’s just another story…
It’s getting late and we are finally going to Trapani to see something he wants to show me. I have also another plan to fulfil today… Erice – an ancient, mythological city is waiting for me. Another two hours to enjoy his company, and I will take my backpack and will leave him. I have to.