ROSA & MEO: A LOVE STORY
The Cappa Family Produces An Award Winning Olive Oil
“Over time, grapes were replaced with additional olive trees…”
By Nicholas A. Chiominto, Jr.
This love story begins in the southern Italian village of Cori, located in the Lepini mountains in the region of Lazio. My Grandfather’s niece, Rosa Moroni met Mariano (Meo) Cappa, fell in love at an early age, married and raised a family. Like most Italians in the early 1900’s, Rosa and Mariano were poor. At the time, Mariano worked as a farmhand for a land owner who appreciated Mariano’s positive work ethic. As the landowner grew older, and since he liked Mariano, he offered to sell him seven acres of his land. Being resourceful, and out of necessity, Rosa and Meo developed the land into a farm. They raised some animals; but the main focus was olives, grapes, fruit trees, and a large vegetable garden. This farm helped sustain the Cappa family for many years. Over time, grapes were replaced with additional olive trees, bringing the total number from 49 Itrana cultivar trees to 500. Depending on the year and weather, the 500 trees yielded between 2,000 and 3,000 liters of olive oil. The olive oil was distributed between the Moroni and Cappa families for their personal use throughout the year. As Rosa and Meo aged, their daughter Giovanna, and grandson Catullo began working on the farm. Eventually, Giovanna and Catullo took over the annual olive harvest and olive oil production. It is backbreaking manual work. I know firsthand because I helped with the olive harvest a couple of times. While it is hard work, watching the olives being pressed into olive oil and tasting the finished product is very rewarding. Fast forward to today. While Rosa and Meo are no longer with us, and Giovanna has limited her involvement in the farm, Catullo now has almost complete control over the olive harvest and olive oil production. When I mention a love story, it is not only about the love between Rosa and Meo, but the love and passion Catullo has for the land, the olive trees and olive oil production. In honor and memory of his grandparents, Catullo began producing his own olive oil brand called Rosa & Meo. This quality extra virgin olive oil has won numerous awards in competitions throughout Italy. Several articles have been written about Catullo and his extra virgin olive oil including; the Italian food and wine magazine Gambero Rosso’s 2019 Oli D’Italia edition. Rosa & Mio olive oil scored in the 90 to 100-point range. Catullo is a small batch producer. He only produces a limited number of bottles each year to sell. The olive oil is sold locally in and around Cori. In addition, through friends in Denmark, Catullo and his oil were introduced to olive oil buyers and restaurants in Copenhagen where he has developed a cult following. Catullo, a certified olive oil taster and expert, does not produce his olive oil for the money. He does it out of love. His love for Rosa and Meo and his desire to keep their memory alive.