The bond between the Pantaleo family and olive oil is as old as one of our olive trees, with deep, firm roots in the Puglia region. Over a hundred years of tradition, and the constant commitment of generations of Pugliese entrepreneurs, have developed and established our business, making it one of the leading olive oil production estates in Italy.
Our story began in 1890 in Fasano where, thanks to a sharp business initiative, Antonio Pantaleo began to sell unbottled olive oil. His son Nicola was to revolutionise the family business in the 1940s when he decided to focus exclusively on oil for bottling, so that the Pantaleo name, already synonymous with fine quality olive oil, became a recognised brand outside the region.
Today Nicola Pantaleo SpA is a well-established business, expertly managed by Donato Pantaleo who is assisted by his wife Maura, son Nicola and daughter-in-law Amalia. Every year we produce about 12,000 tons of olive oil of different types: extra virgin, olive oil, olive pomace oil. We operate on both domestic and international markets, including those outside Europe where, in some cases (Japan, India, Oman, Qatar), ours are the most widely sold products
The quality of Pantaleo products is in some senses due to our technical equipment, our analyses and our control procedures, but the most important factor is our decades of knowhow. A passion for oil, handed down from generation to generation, from father to son, and which inevitably proved contagious for everyone in the company. An understanding of oil based on a constantly-evolving mind-map, made up of qualities, bouquets and flavours which change from one place to another, based on which variety (or cultivar), which oil press and which production techniques are used. And our knowledge extends beyond the frontiers of Apulia, and even beyond those of Italy, to include the whole of the Mediterranean basin and all the olive oil-producing regions of the world. This all comes together in olive-oil tasting, the most important test that every blend, and even every batch of olive oil must first of all be good enough to pass. A decision which is down to Donato Pantaleo and his son Nicola, who is responsible for purchasing and processing olive oils.
The pantaleo family, however, is not only the biological one. There are also the people who work inside our organisation: employees and other staff, often whole families, giving their hearts day in day out, working towards a common goal. Their enthusiasm, their willingness to give their best and to share the company’s philosophy is a key to the success of the Pantaleo brand, and to the efficiency of this dynamic and flexible organisation which is capable of responding to the various needs of our customers and consumers throughout the world. A virtuous cycle of quality, which has its origins in the heartfelt desire to make people happy, and by doing so creates the true competitive advantage for the Nicola Pantaleo firm
Producing quality is a task which requires great commitment. And even more so when you want to do it on a large scale, increasing the amount of product you put out on the marketplace. So, especially in recent years, Pantaleo’s policy has been to invest wisely, on the one hand enabling us to increase our production capacity, and on the other to improve the quality of our own oil, created with the same level of care as ever. An objective that is perfectly in line with a company mission to satisfy our customers’ needs to the full, to raise the quality of our products on a continual basis and to make our procedures ever more efficient, and to do so following all regulations to the letter. These values are shared by people throughout our organisation, and by our closest allies too – we believe that involving them directly is the best way of achieving excellence.
The investments which Pantaleo have made aim to ensure that the company's production capacity is not pushed to saturation point but remains at levels well below our true production potential. This enables us to provide our customers with a number of advantages: a better quality-price ratio; extremely short lead-times for delivery of any quantity of goods; just-in-time production reduces inventory and leads to rapid stock turnover, ensuring outstanding product freshness and shelf life. The oil can be stored in over 50 in-ground stainless steel tanks (ranging in size from 10 to 500 tons).
Criteria for purchasing raw materials
Suppliers are chosen on the basis of rigorous parameters set out by the company.
The first check-ups take place in the olive groves themselves, first checking the healthy growth of the trees and then the olive harvest. Hygiene and process checks are carried out on the oil-presses where the olives are to be milled.
Selection and quality control of supplies
Tasting is carried out on a representative sample of the batch of oil for purchase. The product must be free from defects and have all the necessary qualities for the blending it was designed for. Once it has passed these checks, it undergoes chemical analyses in the company’s laboratories to make sure that it is genuine, fresh and passes all of the company’s in-house tests, which are far more stringent than those set out by the European Union and international regulations established by the International Oil Council (or IOC). Only at this point is the purchase price agreed on.
Once the batch arrives at company headquarters, it is tasted and analysed again from a sample taken straight from the tanker truck. Only if the parameters are identical to those of the representative sample we had tasted and analysed will the oil be allowed into our storage tanks.
Storing raw materials
The oil batch is transferred into one of the 50+ in-ground stainless steel tanks, which have to be filled to the brim to make sure that there is as little contact as possible between the oil and the air. If necessary, each in-ground tank can also be filled with nitrogen to make sure that the organoleptic and chemical qualities of the stored oils remain stable over the course of time. During storage, the oils are periodically tasted and chemically analysed to make sure that no alteration or oxidation has taken place that might affect its usability. The oil is vacuum pumped in and out along fixed stainless steel tubes.
Finding the right blends
Each blend is the result of a decision-making process based on consumer preferences in the market where it is to be sold, finding the right balance between such sensory attributes as fruitiness, bitterness, sweetness and pepperiness. This recipe (or “laboratory blend”) is reproduced in small quantities and sent to a tasting panel for comments, after which the blend can be gradually fine-tuned until it is granted final approval. In the case of private labels, the recipe is decided in conjunction with the client. Once it has been approved, the blend undergoes chemical analysis to make sure that all of the parameters meet our strict in-house standards. Only then do we go ahead with creating the actual blend itself, in a special “blending tank” where our “recipes” can be automatically managed in terms of what varieties are used and in what proportions. A sample of the blend is once again tasted and analysed, and finally given a so-called “in-house blend code”, which guarantees the total traceability of the oil shipments used in the recipe.
This approved blend is then filtered twice - once with diatomaceous earth which removes coarser residues, moisture and impurities, and then with filter papers made from pure cellulose (a process known in Italian as brillantatura). Each phase is followed by a further specific check-up and chemical analysis. This oil is then stored inside another blending tank, ready to be bottled or canned.
Transferring the oil
The whole range of Pantaleo olive oils is produced on our own premises, where no seed oils are either processed or bottled. Also, the oil is transferred from the storage division to the bottling division along seven different stainless steel tubes, each one used exclusively for a specific type of oil. This prevents any possible contamination between blends of different types of oil.
The four high-tech bottling lines were specifically designed so as not to affect the nutritional, sensory and analytical qualities of our oils; special 1-micron filter socks remove any residues or impurities still left in the oil. The bottling lines are systematically sanitised. Before they are filled, the empty containers (bottles and tin cans) are transported along conveyor belts which are completely enclosed by acrylic panels to prevent any extraneous matter from getting in by accident. As a further precaution, each filling station is equipped with a high-pressure air hose mounted upstream from the filling machine. The bottling plant is also equipped with an optical inspection machine, and the bottling process is structured in such a way that company staff can carry out quality checks both on materials and on the finished product.
Assessing the finished product
At the bottling plant, checks are carried out on a continuous basis on the empty bottles, the weight content, the cap seal, the correct position of the labels, the legibility of the batch code and the expiry date, using both cameras and visual checking procedures by company staff. The final assessment of the finished product is made up of tastings and laboratory analysis on each batch.
Packing and storing finished goods
Scales at the end of the conveyor belt weigh each bottle or can. Cartons and shrink packs are loaded onto pallets and sent to the finished-product warehouse to await delivery to the customer. The bottles, cans and pallets are each labelled with a tag, showing the information required by the Indicod platform and by the company’s trackability and traceability systems.
Pantaleo is synonymous with fine quality olive oil. We aim to offer you a superior product, with unmistakeable flavour and an organoleptic and nutritional guarantee, thanks to our fulfilment of quality standards that are higher than those prescribed by law.
All of our company processes are managed in compliance with HACCP guidelines, integrated with the requirements set out in ISO 9000 regulations.
In the countryside around Fasano, midway between the cities of Bari and Brindisi, is a land that has always had a vocation for olive cultivation. This area, which includes the protected oasis of the Parco Regionale delle Dune Costiere, is particularly known for its many historical olive groves, some of whose trees date back to the ancient Messapians, and are almost 3,000 years old.
With a view to promotion and preservations of local heritage, we have decided to recover over 50 hectares of abandoned, centuries-old olive groves. Some of the land has been used for intensive and super-intensive olive cultivation, in full conformity with organic farming principles, for the production of extra virgin olive oil. The remaining plots are used for organic cultivation of the famous “Regina di Torre Canne” tomato, a canning variety especially suited to long conservation, with a unique flavour thanks to saltwater irrigation, and rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, PP, and K. The fresh tomatoes are partly sold wholesale and partly in our zero food-miles shop on the estate, alongside other fresh vegetables and legumes grown organically in our vegetable garden.
A third portion of the harvest is processed in our ICEA certified laboratory to produce a traditional tomato sauce, offering all the traditional flavour without the addition of water, colouring, additives or preservatives. In order to safeguard our surroundings and environmental biodiversity, here at Pantaleo Agricoltura we have come up with a model of sustainable development, which makes use of the latest technological innovations, while respecting the agricultural tradition of our land.
Thanks to these features we have been included in the Terra di Brindisi “masserie didattiche” project. For this reason, in addition to our farming and productive activities, we organise educational visits for families, classes and groups interested in getting to know the local traditions, and offer various educational themed workshops. Pantaleo Agricoltura is also a Slow Food Presidium.
Quality has always been our objective with our extra virgin olive oil. This is why in 2001, along with other olive oil producers, we set up the Consorzio di Garanzia dell'Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva di Qualità.
The Consortium, which currently numbers 26 members including producers and sector associations, is open to all professionals, producers, packagers and distributors interested in promoting extra virgin olive oil culture through conformity to higher quality standards than those prescribed by law.
Our ongoing dialogue and partnership with professionals at all levels of the production network promotes a continuous, across-the-board exchange of information which positively impacts the progressive improvement of processes and oil quality.
The Consortium promotes scientific research programmes and national information campaigns, as well as setting the production parameters the member estates must respect. Certification is granted after meticulous checking of the production systems and following analysis of the final product in recognised independent laboratories. It therefore guarantees extra virgin olive of a superior quality, fully traceable, with distinctive organoleptic and nutritional features.