The business complex that houses the Cooperative La Bella di Cerignola dates back to 1886. It is located in Cerignola, the historic food and agricultural center of the Tavoliere delle Puglie plain, at the Santo Stefano company of the counts Pavoncelli.
This is a complex of historic buildings built by the Pavoncelli family to host one of the largest industrial agricultural factories of Southern Italy in the nineteenth century. At Santo Stefano great wines were produced, among which the “Santo Stefano” – red wine made from Nero di Troia grapes, the “Mistella” – a fortified wine like port and the wine for the “Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits”. At Santo Stefano they also processed tobacco of the best quality.
Among the oils, we mention the Olio d’Oliva delle Grandi Tenute Pavoncelli, made from Coratina olives and marketed in glass bottles and elegant tinplate cans. At Santo Stefano they also processed table olives, marketed in tinplate cans as “Olive da Tavola Aziende Agricole Pavoncelli Cerignola”.
Part of the Santo Stefano business complex was used as an industrial archeology museum. By appointment, it is possible to visit the ancient cellars, the old oil mill, the rooms where table olives were processed and those intended for the production of tobacco. During the visit you can admire, in addition to the beautiful and imposing architectural structure, the ancient equipment for winemaking, for the extraction of oil and for the transformation of table olives.
The museum also displays a discreet collection of bottles, milk, crates and cartons, used between the 19th and 20th centuries, for the marketing of the products of the Grande Tenute Pavoncelli.
Not infrequently, the evocative environments of the Santo Stefano company, with the adjacent olive groves, are chosen as the location for the realization of cultural events, documentaries and films, including, deserving of mention, the film made by RAI on the figure of the great trade unionist Giuseppe Di Vittorio from Cerignola.
The Cooperative “La Bella di Cerignola” was founded in 1993 thanks to the determination and the financial commitment of some farmers, among the major producers of olives of the Bella di Cerignola variety. This variety is one of the most popular table olives in the world.
The Cooperative takes care of the processing, the packaging and the marketing of olives that come exclusively from the fields of the members. The olives are hand picked after a careful cultivation.
In respect of the environment the members carry out the so-called “integrated pest management”. Thanks to the advice of agronomists and agricultural experts, this allows to minimize the use of pesticides.
Over the years the Cooperative got equipped with modern packaging facilities through which it can ensure maximum healthiness of its products while preserving at the same time their nutritional properties and organoleptic characteristics.
The Cooperative has also realized a photovoltaic system on the roofs of the factory that allows to use most of the produced energy for the processing, with clear advantages for itself and for the environment.
By virtue of the great attention that the Cooperative has always paid to the enhancement of the product, it was one of the promoters of the presentation of the specifications to obtain the European brand “Protected Designation of Origin La Bella della Daunia” Bella di Cerignola variety. The recognition of the PDO occurred in the year 2000 and also thanks to this the company has successfully established itself on the most important international markets.
In 2002 the Cooperative was also among the promoters of the establishment of the Consortium for the Protection of the P.D.O. La Bella della Daunia, Bella di Cerignola cultivar table olive (Consorzio di Tutela Oliva da Mensa D.O.P. La Bella della Daunia cultivar Bella di Cerignola). Since 2004 this Consortium works with the recognition of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies.
Therefore today the finest, biggest olives, with the necessary requirements requested by the Production Regulations of the PDO La Bella della Daunia, Bella di Cerignola variety, are processed and marketed by the Cooperative, both as green and black olives, with the prestigious European Protected Designation of Origin brand.
In the knowledge that there can be no tradition without innovation, the Cooperative is constantly engaged in the research of innovative products. Today it is the co-holder of a patent for industrial invention, thanks to which the Bella di Cerignola olives are processed and marketed also as red olives and the holder of a patent to produce black smoked olives. It is partner of the University and Public Bodies in multiple research projects.
Intuitively, the Cooperative has decided to destine the smaller olives of the Bella di Cerignola variety, which cannot be used for the PDO, to the production of extra virgin olive oil. This choice resulted successful for the excellent organoleptic qualities that the obtained oil presents.
The Cooperative has also believed in another product, olive tapenade; a paste obtained from pitted and chopped olives of the Bella di Cerignola variety mixed with the company’s extra virgin olive oil.
The Cooperative also markets dried Tomatoes, homemade Lampascioni, Salicornia and grilled Artichokes in olive oil, made by an Apulian company specializing in the production of canned food, based on traditional recipes and under careful control of the cooperative's technicians.
In the awareness that tradition cannot exist without innovation, the Cooperative is constantly committed to the search for innovative products. Today he holds two patents for industrial invention, thanks to which he also transforms and markets Bella di Cerignola olives such as red olives and smoked black olives.
The Cooperative is a partner of the University and public bodies in multiple research projects and is IFS 6.1 certified.