Why We Love Bona Furtuna Olive Oil: A Review

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Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

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Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.

Published:

Olive oil doesn’t get much more sustainable than Bona Furtuna. Here’s why we love it, based on extensive taste testing and conversations with the Bona Furtuna team in Jackson, Wyoming!

When I first wrote a round-up of the best eco-friendly and organic olive oils in early 2022, little did I know that my top pick would be local to Leaf Score HQ.

This happy coincidence means John has enjoyed plenty of opportunities to test Bona Furtuna’s delicious, organic, extra virgin olive oil and chat with the team behind this fantastic eco-friendly kitchen staple.

Bona Furtuna Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Leaf Score

Highlights: Award-winning extra virgin olive oil freshly bottled on the estate within 24 hours. Made from handpicked, heritage olive varietals nurtured by a Sicilian B Corp, 1% for the Planet member, and Climate Neutral certified.

What we like

  • Certified B Corp and 1% for the Planet member
  • Climate Neutral certified 
  • From single estate organic, permaculture farm
  • Single varietal, heirloom, heritage options available
  • Many sustainability initiatives at the company
  • Bona Furtuna helped save an heirloom olive varietal from extinction!
  • Subscription (and discount) model available
  • Sustainably packaged
  • Great gift options!

What could be better

  • Pricey
  • Not available in all stores (but word is spreading!)

Who is Bona Furtuna?

Bona Furtuna got its start in 2013 by planting its first olive trees on its organic farm in the biopreserve Sicani Mountain region of Sicily. The entire La Furtuna Estate farm is certified organic, thrives through permaculture, and works with nature to preserve and promote biodiversity.

There are now more than 12,000 olive trees on the La Furtuna estate, all organically farmed and some more than 1,500 years old! 

One of the olive varietals at Bona Furtuna is very rare indeed. The company’s master botanist rediscovered and helped propagate the Biancolla Centinara (ancient white lilac) olive, an ancient type of olive found nowhere else in the world.

There are now more than 1,500 of these trees in the Sicani Mountain region, thanks to a partnership between Bona Furtuna and Slow Food’s Sicilian chapter. The company has also lent a hand in creating community gardens and supporting youth education, with ongoing support for local job creation and the preservation of Sicilian culture.

Sustainability at Bona Furtuna

As of January 2022, Bona Furtuna became a B Corp. It is also a 1% for the Planet member and is certified Climate Neutral. 

Some of the sustainable practices at Bona Furtuna include:

  • Using olive oil harvest waste to nurture the soil again
  • Use of spring water irrigation from the nearby Mt. Barrau
  • Polyculture crop rotation (to avoid stripping the soil of nutrients and instead help improve soil quality)
  • Pollinator-friendly planting for bees and other insects
  • Free roaming of animals across the estate (instead of blocking migration routes or trapping)
  • Use of solar energy to run the farm’s operations.

Bona Furtuna also ships its products in cardboard boxes using 100% recycled brown paper. Everything can be recycled and there are no single-use plastics.

But how does the olive oil taste?!

Enough about sustainability. What about the olive oil!?

Thankfully, Bona Furtuna isn’t just the most eco-friendly olive oil. It’s also absolutely delicious. This is according to John and family and also to professional olive oil judges in blind tastings.

Award winning olive oil from Bona Furtuna

Bona Furtuna won three gold medals at the 2021 Extra Virgin Olive Oil International Olive Oil Contest (EVO IOOC), as well as several other awards. It then took another Gold in 2022, along with 24 other international awards.

Cue 2023 award season and Bona Furtuna is still going strong, with 20 awards including EVO IOOC Silvers for its Forte and Heritage blends. It also scooped up six awards for its Biancolilla Centinara olive oil and remains the only commercial producer of this oil.

That’s not where the awards end either. 

Bona Furtuna also won a raft of awards in the last few years for its infused olive oils. 

In 2023 alone, Bona Furtuna won Silvers for its Garlic Infused EVOO and Orange Infused EVOO at the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. And the company’s Basil Infused EVOO took Gold!

Forte, Heritage, and speciality EVOOs from Bona Furtuna

Every olive that goes into Bona Furtuna EVOOs is handpicked by local farmers, inspected for quality, and taken to the on-farm mill for cold extraction. This means the olive oil is mechanically extracted, all without solvents (no hexane). 

Bona Furtuna bottles the oil on its estate within 24 hours of harvesting the olives.

Forte Blend

As the name suggests, this EVOO is pressed from Bona Furtuna’s strongest, most potent olives on its farm estate. This single-estate EVOO is powerful and invigorating!

Flavor notes from Bona Furtuna: Fiery, with flavors of tomato leaf, freshly cut green grass, and rich earthy soil, with a hint of white pepper.

Best for: Hearty rye bread or grilled ribeye steak.

Polyphenols: 258 parts per million (PPM)

Acidity: 0.12%

Biancolilla Centinara 

Bona Furtuna’s unique EVOO comes courtesy of the hard work of Dr. Pasquale “Mimmo” Marino, Chief Scientist at the company. Having rediscovered this ancient varietal of olive, Mimmo and team now offers this single-varietal EVOO for you to enjoy at home. 

Flavor notes from Bona Furtuna: Strong vegetal qualities, medium fluidity, medium-green fruitiness, balanced bitterness and pungency. Notes of wild herbs and dried flowers, with aroma of tomato, fresh grass, almond, and artichoke.

Best for: Fantastic alone or as an accent to heavier dishes.

Polyphenols: 224 PPM

Acidity: 0.16%

Heritage Blend

Bona Furtuna’s award-winning Heritage Blend EVOO is a fully organic, single-estate extra virgin olive oil. It’s made using pressed olives from trees that are up to 1,000 years old, making this an heirloom EVOO.

Flavor notes from Bona Furtuna: Soft flavor of fruity, golden notes with a nose of artichoke, green tomato and almond. Smooth and balanced with a medium spice. 

Best for: Salad, pasta or fresh-baked bread.

Polyphenols: 211 PPM

Acidity: 0.12%

Chef’s Blend: Karen Akunowicz

Bona Furtuna’s Chef’s Blend comes courtesy of a partnership with James Beard Award-Winning Chef Karen Akunowicz. The olives were harvested and pressed in September 2022, so get yours while its still available!

Flavor notes from Bona Furtuna: Elegant, bold, and resonant. Full-bodied, round, and smooth with hints of pink pepper, wet grass and wildflowers. 

Best with: Fresh pasta, focaccia, cheese, cucumber salad, and red snapper.  

Riserva Di Nonna Rosa

Limited edition EVOO from pressing olives from 1,500-year-old trees on the La Furtuna Estate. Named after the original matriarch of La Furtuna Estate. Great gift as it is created from the fall harvest, ready for winter, and ships in a custom wood case!

Flavor notes from Bona Furtuna: Green fruit, vanilla, green almond, red apple, and wild herbs.

Best with: Everything!

Polyphenols: 224 PPM

Acidity: 0.14%

Grand Cru

Another limited release, the Grand Cru EVOO is a blend of the best olives in each annual harvest. It’s also a little more affordable than some other Bona Furtuna blends, so a great one to try. And it has the highest polyphenol count of any Bona Furtuna EVOO!

Flavor notes from Bona Furtuna: Soft, persistent flavor with notes of grass and pepper.

Best with: Everything!

Polyphenols: 327 PPM

Acidity: 0.12% 

Our experience with Bona Furtuna EVOO

LeafScore’s homebase is Jackson, WY. Happily, Bona Furtuna has a big presence in Jackson!

For John, that means easy access to these delicious olive oils as several local stores in Jackson carry Bona Furtuna. The company even hosts local food events, including a pizza-making event at the Farm to Fork Festival, put on by Slow Food in the Tetons. 

John has had ample opportunity to sample Bona Furtuna EVOO and the company’s balsamic vinegars too, as well as to chat with the Bona Furtuna team about sustainability at the B Corp.

Final thoughts on Bona Furtuna EVOO

If you’re a connoisseur of olive oil or a beginner taster, or if you just want the most sustainable olive oil around, Bona Furtuna is the top choice.

Bona Furtuna has stockists all across the US, including in Hawaii! That means you may be able to find this super sustainable EVOO in a store near you. 

For direct access, though, you can shop at the company’s website. Bona Furtuna even offers a subscribe and save (10%) option, so you never have to go without this great tasting eco-friendly olive oil again!

Even better, with a monthly subscription box from Bona Furtuna, you get new Italian products each month, with recipes and recommendations, plus extra discounts, early access to seasonal fare such as panettone, and free gifts!

Bona Furtuna Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Leaf Score

Highlights: Award-winning extra virgin olive oil freshly bottled on the estate within 24 hours. Made from handpicked, heritage olive varietals nurtured by a Sicilian B Corp, 1% for the Planet member, and Climate Neutral certified.

FAQs

When does Bona Furtuna EVOO expire?

Most olive oil starts to spoil around 12 months after the olives are harvested. At 18 months, the oil is usually unusable as food (you can still use it to treat wood, though). 

The trouble is, most olive oil has an expiry date based on when the oil was bottled, not when the olives were harvested. 

Thankfully, because Bona Furtuna bottles all its EVOO within 24 hours of harvesting the olives, you know exactly what the expiry date, and harvest date, actually mean. 

And, chances are, with Bona Furtuna oil this delicious, you won’t even come close to having any EVOO left in the bottle by the expiration date!

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