MedSNAIL: Extraction oil procedure from Kerkennah Islands in Sfax (Tunisia)
THE KERKENNAH ISLANDS LIE OFF THE COAST OF SFAX IN THE GULF OF GABÈS, IN TUNISIA. THOUGH THEY’RE LITTLE-KNOWN, THEY ISLANDS ARE CONSIDERED BY MANY TO BE AMONG THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN THE WORLD. THEY’RE ALSO A HAVEN FOR BIODIVERSITY AND TRADITIONAL PRODUCTION PRACTICES, AS THEIR NUMEROUS SLOW FOOD PRESIDIA AND ARK OF TASTE PRODUCTS SHOW.
Perhaps because of their privileged position and favorable climate the Kerkennah Islands give us foods with a wonderful aromatic profile and unique qualities. Among them, the olives used to make oil and baked goods.
The women of the Kerkennah Islands are the traditional custodians of olive cultivation, while the men are fishers who spend much of the day at sea, from the early morning to the evening. Some of them extract the oil by hand through a laborious process which requires several days to be completed. There’s a mill present among the islands, but it’s not big enough to process the enormous quantity of olives grown. Around 70% of the olives are therefore brought to mills on the mainland in Sfax for processing.