The karbonaca olive is local, still grown around the towns of Fasana, Peroj and Dignano in the southern part of Istria. The Italian name, “carbonera” refers to the colour the olive becomes when fully ripened.
The tree is quite tall and has healthy leaves; the olive is small and round, black with reddish tones. Karbonaca olive production is scarce, so its olive oil is only found in local markets.
In Istria, the first historical data relating to olive growing goes back to the first century B.C. The island’s strategic position and Mediterranean climate have favoured the long olive tradition to the extent that in the past, olive growing was the source of a healthy income, but when this island was part of Yugoslavia, many farmers abandoned the sector and countryside to work in Pula factories. Moreover, olive oil disappeared from Istrian tables for many years because it was replaced by seed oils or animal fats. Karbonaca olive growing and oil production have been handed down from a few local farmers who, thanks to a relaunch in the sector, are trying to revive this local variety.
The main gastronomic use is olive oil, which is used to flavour and season meat, vegetable or fish dishes.