Who is Vincenzo Bonomo and what is he up to?
Vincenzo Bonomo is a young Sicilian olive oil producer…but that’s not all.
His story begins from a long family tradition that for ages has been cultivating century-old olive trees with passion, dedication and hard work.
Vincenzo, very young at age but cleverly forward-looking, engages an ambitious project. With the support of his family he decides to renovate the ancient olive groves and old vineyards implanting young trees of Cerasuola olive variety, pointing towards territorial identity. He also decides to produce high quality almonds.A visit of the Bonomo estate with Vincenzo is a good occasion for an interview of this young dynamic entrepreneur.
M: “Vincenzo, at what age does this passion of yours begin?”
V: “I must say, since I was born! My grandfather Michele always took me in the fields with him and transmitted his passion and knowledge. When I was five years old he taught me how to drive his tractor…you can imagine what happened when my mother found out!” he says with a laughing smile.
M: “What about the arduous decision of extirpating peach orchards, vineyards and ancient olive trees?”
V: “It was quite a difficult decision which I considered necessary to obtain excellent products. In those years the price of peaches, grapes and other crops was very low, not worth the effort my family and I spent. The area and the soil are particularly suitable to the production of excellent olive oil and so our ambitious project took place”.
In 2013 the Cooperativa Agricola Bonomo bottles its first olive oil and participates to various fairs in Sicily and in Italy. Just a year after, the Bonomo Olive Oil is awarded as Best Olive Oil 2014 at the TerroirVino Contest held in Genoa. In 2016 the Gambero Rosso Three leaf award is achieved and the Bonomo Olive Oil is listed in the Gambero Rosso Oli d’Italia Guide. This up to now, but Vincenzo’s mind is restless. He decides to branch out towards other products of Sicilian tradition that stand out for uniqueness and excellence.After a period of studies and research, Vincenzo decides di embark the fascinating world of aromatic herbs aiming towards typical Sicilian herbs as origano, mint, sage, rosemary, wild fennel and sumac.
After plantings, trials and tests he begins producing excellent aromas that are now very appreciated by haute cuisine chefs in Italy and abroad.Vincenzo guides us throughout the family estate within olive groves, almond plantations and aromatic herbs planted between the trees. Along the plot borders, spontaneous shrubs of sumac thrive waving clusters of red berries in the afternoon breeze. Vincenzo explains that sumac is a plant that grows spontaneously within the Mediterranean scrub and besides being a spice it has been used for hundreds of years as a natural remedy against many illnesses. The ripe berries are picked and set to dry in small cases, then the skin of the tiny berries are discarted.After our ride in the countryside, Vincenzo takes us to his laboratory in Partinico where we meet his family. The spice is derived from the tiny seeds within the berries which are at last ground and placed in jars. Sumac has various uses in cooking from dry rubs, marinades and dressings. It pairs well with vegetables, lamb, chicken and fish. A long table of delicious dishes attends us: sfincione (Sicilian style pizza), panelle (chickpea fritters), wild fennel omlettes, local salami and cheeses, bruschettas and “pani cunzatu”, everything enriched with Bonomo Olive Oil, now also in hot pepper version.Vincenzo also AIS Sommelier, chooses the perfect wine to match the various dishes, Berlinghieri Chardonnay from the Di Legami Winery.Food and wine means conviviality and with Vincenzo, Maria Grazia, his fiancè and his parents it was a delicious moment.
When I asked Vincenzo: “Where do you imagine yourself in five years?” Laughing, he answered: “Who knows! My grandfather always told me to do things step by step and this is what I’m doing. Up to now we are having good results and passion, perseverance and hard work are giving us great satisfaction.”