Natalia Ravida used to live in London, a budding journalist, and was asked by her father to help find an importer for their first sales outside Italy. I am not sure quite how she found us; maybe it was because we were selling to a little deli just around the corner from her flat. I am sure, though, that when we first tasted the oil we had no doubt that it was going to be a great addition to our then very small range. And so it has proved.
The family farm of La Gurra used to be vast, covering hectares of land to the west of the small town of Menfi, in south-west Sicily. Over the years some land has been divided up and sold off, but there is still a considerable area of cultivated olives trees, of vines and of lemon trees, as well as wild open spaces of the beautiful Sicilian macchia, full of aromatic herbs and ancient wild olive trees. The modern mill is here at La Gurra, put in by Natalia’s father, and so is the old stone one. Not now used, it is a memorial to her grandfather who spent much of his time in the old farmhouse there, rather than in the family's beautiful grand Villa in the centre of Menfi where Natalia also now holds cookery classes.