Creating Perfection; The Barbuto Way

IsBlogs - Il Barbuto - The man himself

Flavour the Way Mother Nature Intended…

I must admit, from the first moment I laid eyes on the distinctive Barbuto label on a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, I was curious;  a Maltese man making award-winning extra virgin olive oil in Sicily? I set out to track him down, and finally managed to sit and have a long chat with this interesting, bearded “Wildman” in his native Valletta.

Having worked as a TV journalist for 15 years, Jean-Paul, or Barbuto, as he is now known,  decided he wanted to see his kids grow and knew it was time to make a change in his and his family’s lifestyle.  It was back in 1999, and a revival of the olive oil industry in Malta was underway, initiated single handedly by one man, Sammy Cremona,  who had a passion for the industry and started to plant olive trees and press the olives.   Jean-Paul had interviewed him, and had also helped him with some promotional work  “I took a liking to the whole business of olive oil…. I starting looking for some land in Malta or Gozo…. But it all finally fell into place when I was on holiday with my family in San Giacomo, Sicily, when we came across this land with olive groves, fell in love with it and bought it”

“We found it, we liked it and we bought it….I was no farmer and the first 2 years were a steep learning curve as I had no idea about farming, so I started talking to the old Sicilian farmers and slowly started learning….”

“I have always believed that you can create an excellent product by taking the best practices and improving on them… For example we hand select each and every olive, the olive is plucked, selected and pressed within 6 hours: inthe beginning everybody laughed at me and said I was crazy but when the Awards started rolling in….. this year we won 3 International Awards, one of which is Best Olive Oil in Sicily and another one of the Best 175 Best Olive Oils in the World”  Accolades indeed for someone who knew nothing about farming.

Barbuto has also won an Award for Packaging:  “I believe the product has to be excellent in all aspects, from the farming, to the storage, to the packaging.  We store our olive oil in stainless steel silos within a climate controlled environment, maximum 14 / 17 C, summer and winter, which naturally involves high costs. The oil has no contact with oxygen so there is no oxidisation….Our acidity is negligible:  the parameters for extra virgin olive oil is 0.3 to 0.8, Barbuto is 0.1. “

“We have since developed a whole range of Organic fruit and vegetables and last December, we launched dark chocolate and we made it to the finals of the International Chocolate Awards, we came second! “  Not a bad result for the first year!

Nothing artificial is added to our food products….  It is all natural.

“In addition, we produce a whole range of organic dairy products, in partnership with a Sicilian family, including  cheeses, yogurts, mozzarella, all organic;  which is a very rigorous, strict process: you cannot keep more than 2 cows in a hectare of land, impossible to do in Malta, where space is such an issue.

The latest Barbuto product is a signature tomato sauce; “ theonly ingredients are cherry tomatoes and olive oil and thats it! Its organic; we had the soft launch this week, I sent an anonymous bottle to all my clients and I started receiving phone calls and emails asking me what was in the bottle and possibly there had been a mistake, as they did not recall ordering the item”……..

The Thursday following our meeting in Valletta, as promised, a box was delivered to my office; beautiful, fresh, organic tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, lettuce, peppers, fresh basil, rosemary and the signature Virgin Olive Oil, a bottle of concentrated Almond milk, and a small brown bottle, with no label….. I called Jean-Paul; whats in the brown bottle?  “Its my tomato sauce; try it”  So that evening, we prepared a very simple pasta, utilizing some of the ingredients from our Barbuto box; onions, chopped tomatoes, fresh basil and the contents of the little brown bottle; I have to say, that this was possibly the best tomato sauce I had ever tasted……an explosion of fresh, natural, flavours……

The following day, I was back on the phone to JP enthusing about the tomato sauce ;Why no label on the bottle?  “I sent them back…. I am still not happy with the labels….. “  Indeed everything has to be perfect…..

Barbuto products are delivered all over the world via the online shop :

Barbuto Extra Virgin Olive Oils are available in three retail outlets in Malta ;FRANKS The Wine Boutique,  La Maltese and Wembley Store.

Every week, Barbuto makes fresh deliveries of organic dairy products and natural fresh fruit and vegetables to Malta and Gozo.  You can tailor-make your own box choosing items from the week’s freshest fruit and vegetables delivered directly to your house for an extra fee of Euro 8 (free delivery for orders over €100 ), alternatively you may collect your box from 6 pick up points in Malta and Gozo at no extra charge.

Products are either Certified Organic or all natural with no pesticides and awaiting certification.





One Comment

  1. Annabel Camilleri says:

    I stole a couple of bits from Isabel’s Barbuto box. Unbelievably fresh tasting, sweet veg. Can’t get that from a supermarket. Need to get my hands on some of the chocolate now.


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