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Tuscany’s Olive Oil

  • The Story of Tuscany’s Olive Oil

    Italy is renowned for the high quality of its olive oil, and rightly so. Some of the best comes from Tuscany, with single-estate bottled oil being the most highly prized ¬– and the most expensive.

    The soil, type of tree, amount of sunshine and the amount of rain that falls during the growing season all play their part in determining the flavour of the oil. A variety of olive trees are grown in Italy, each of which has its own particular characteristics. Most of the olive trees grown in Tuscany are Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolio, Maurino, Moraiolo and Taggiasca.

    The best type of soil to plant the trees in is clay or good loamy soil with plenty of drainage. Although olive trees can thrive in difficult conditions, there is no guarantee of a reliable crop each year. It is essential that the trees have good irrigation throughout the growing season to maximise their yield. Olives are produced on the previous year's growth; therefore, annual pruning is essential for maintaining the health of the tree, ensuring an annual crop and encouraging an even fruit set.

    Olives are picked by hand to minimise damage to the fruit  and then washed to remove any dirt and dust. Within 24 to 48 hours of being harvested, the olives, including the skin and stones, are crushed into a pulp by a stone mill or metal grinder. This pulp is then pressed using a traditional wooden or modern hydraulic press. This is the first pressing and strict guidelines must be adhered to during this process. In order to label a bottle “first cold pressing”, or in the case of an industrial process “cold extraction”, EU guidelines state that the olives must be pressed at a temperature below 27C.

    Perhaps the most skilled part of the process, is deciding when to harvest the olives, because this determines the flavour and taste. Pick too soon or too late and the acidity of the fruit will affect the quality and flavour of the oil detrimentally. Extra-virgin olive oil must have an acidity level of less than 1 per cent. The Italian government has introduced protected designation of origin labels for its olive oils’ DOP. In addition, olive oil from the Chianti region has a special quality-assurance label of denomination of controlled origin DOC.

    It is quite normal for an extra-virgin olive oil to have some sediment at the bottom of the bottle; this is because many of the oils are not filtered after pressing to retain maximum flavour. Once bottled, the oil should be stored away from direct sunlight and should not be exposed to extremes of temperature – a cool pantry or cellar is ideal. Once opened, the oil should be used within a year or by the consume-by date on the label– it’s so delicious it is unlikely to last that long anyway.

    Olive oil, in particular the pure extra-virgin olive oil, is a powerful antioxidant, containing monounsaturated fats, beneficial fats that help reduce cholesterol levels, good for our hearts and our general wellbeing. Olive oil is also widely used in cosmetics, mixed with essential oils in moisturisers and used in high-quality soaps.

    Fancy joining in the olive harvest or witnessing it first hand? Ask when booking where this is possible and we’ll be happy to advise. The harvest takes place on your doorstep, if you stay in a villa at Montebuoni or Montefiorile. We pick the olives growing in and around both of these hamlets, then take them to our neighbours at the vineyard Casanuova di Ama, who have them cold pressed in Volterra, after which the oil is bottled.

Experience an official tuscany tour with

Private Tuscan Pasta Making Class and Dinner with a Local Expert in Florence

Your hands-on cooking class will take place at a local bed and breakfast owned by your hosts Cinzia’s friends. In a light-filled space designed for cooking classes, watch as Cinzia prepares a Tuscan appetizer for your to enjoy before you get to roll up your sleeves and learn to cook regional Italian pasta from recipes passed down through generations of Cinzia’s family. You will learn to cook three dishes from scratch as well as a side or dessert.

Choose between a cooking menu that includes either three handmade pastas or a pasta and meat main course. You will also learn to create a seasonal side vegetable and dessert. For the pasta menu, you will learn to cook three different types of pasta cooked with three different sauces that you will also learn to create. If you choose to make a pasta and meat instead, you will learn to make one pasta and a meat dish. Your meal will end with a traditional Italian dessert.

You're in for a true culinary adventure!

from 106 US Dollar

Half-Day Horseback Ride in Tuscany

Discover Tuscany on horseback! Ride through native woods, medieval villages, and blooming meadows on this small-group horseback tour for experienced and intermediate experience levels.

from 58,91 US Dollar

Multi-Day Flavors of Tuscany Cooking Classes and Arezzo Sightseeing Tour

A short break cooking holiday with an executive chef at your disposal ..You will be cooking, dining, drinking, relaxing and exploring the treasures of Arezzo City, one of the oldest cities in Italy, full of artwork of an ancient past, also famous for its culinary history.

While having fun at a stunning villa, in a private apartment, complete with panoramic pool overlooking the historical city centre.

The best Cocktail for this short break all-inclusive holiday in Tuscany ...

from 1001,41 US Dollar

Private Vegetarian Cooking Class in Florence

Private Hands-on cooking class featuring personal chef

Theme: Vegetarian Italian Class

Specially designed and programmed according to your preferences. 

This Course will let you enjoy this unique culinary experience exclusively for you, without other partecipants.

If you like to completely customize your experience this is the class for you.

PRIVATE CLASS Delight your taste buds learning how to prepare the best vegetarian dishes of the Italian tradition, enjoyable for everybody (even if not vegetarian) due to their extremely tasteful flavors.
Have fun with your Chef in a homey kitchen located in central Florence with lots of local ingredients bought exclusively from local producers.
The program is free so you can set your menu with chef (before the day class).
You can enjoy the best italian traditional food in vegetarian way!
Wine and Prosecco make your experience the best!

from 149,62 US Dollar
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