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Olive Oil Tuscany

  • The story of Olive Oil

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

    The soil, type of tree grown, amount of sunshine and for that matter the amount of rain 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 with their own particular characteristics. The majority of the olive trees grown in Tuscany are Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolio, Maurino, Moraiolo and Taggiasca. The best type of soil to plant them in is clay or good loamy soil with plenty of drainage, although it is true that olive trees can still 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 in order to maximise their yield. Olives crop, 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 throughout the tree.

    Olives are picked by hand as this causes the least damage to the fruit; they are then washed to remove any dirt and dust. Then within 24 to 48 hours of being harvested the olives, including the skin and stones are  crushed into a pulp by stone mill or metal grinder. This pulp is then pressed using a traditional wooden press or a modern hydraulic one. 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 27degrees.

    Perhaps the most skilled part of the process, is deciding when to harvest the olives, as this determines the flavour and taste. Picked too soon or too late the acidity of the fruit will not be right and will affect the quality and flavour of the oil. Extra virgin olive oil must have an acidity level of less than 1 percent. The Italian Government has introduced protected designation of origin labels for its olive oils DOP. In addition to this, 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 have not been filtered after pressing in order 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, although it is so delicious it is unlikely to last that long!

    Olive oil, in particular the pure extra virgin olive oil is a powerful antioxidant, containing monounsaturated fats, these are the good fats which can help reduce cholesterol levels, which is not only good for our hearts but also our general well being. In addition to all of the health benefits to be found in olive oil, it is also widely used in cosmetics, both in manufactured and natural products. It is used mixed with essential oils in moisturisers and has a long tradition of use in high quality soaps.

    To Tuscany would be delighted to welcome anyone wishing to take part in the olive harvest or witness the season first hand, particularly at the hamlets of Montebuoni and Montefiorile, where To Tuscany pick the olives growing in and around both of these hamlets, and take them to our neighbours at the vineyard Casanuova di Ama, who in turn take them to be cold pressed in Volterra, after which the oil is then bottled.

Experience an official tuscany tour with

Florence Christmas Lights Photo Walk

Florence - as many other cities on the World - has beautiful Christmas Lights decoration during Winter Seasons. Discover the best streets and squares with interesting Christmas light decorations. during this Photo Walking Tour and you'll have the chance to take memorable pictures on your own. During the walk your professional photographer will provide you useful tips and tricks about how to take amazing photos at the evening. Whether you are using a compact camera, a pro DSLR or a cellphone, you won't be disappointed with the result of your Christmas Lights images!

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Traditional Home Cooking Experience in a Villa in Lucca with Dinner

Enter a prestigious Villa in Lucchesia and experience an authentic hands on cooking class with a passionate local chef. Enjoy the lunch or dinner with a fine selection of wine.

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Full-Day Private Shore Excursion: Discover Tuscany, Siena Montalcino and Val D'Orcia and Montepulciano Pienza from Livorno

Enjoy a day outside the big cities to explore the countryside of Tuscany. In this full day shore excursion with a private English speaking driver you’ll be able to visit Siena, Montalcino and the Val d’Orcia area, in particular Pienza and Montepulciano. Pickup and drop-off will be at the port of Livorno, right outside the ship.

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Shore Excursion from Livorno to Volterra and San Gimignano

Private Shore Excursion to Volterra and San Gimignano with English speaking driver from the port of Livorno. The tour has been designed for guests who have already seen the famous attractions and beauties of Florence and Pisa and are looking for a truly wonderful and exceptional excursion.
After approx. 1.5 hours driving through medieval towns and beautiful surrounding valleys, you will stop at San Gimignano, an enchanting medieval village that takes its name after Bishop Gimignano who saved the city from the barbarians. The Italian Manhattan as it has been called because of its tall, majestic towers, San Gimignano will charm you with everything which makes it a unique town all over the world. You will have time to explore and shop. If you wish we can arrange a wine tour in San Gimignano at a local winery.
Reboard the car and drive to Volterra. This Etruscan town sits on a rocky plateau and is protected by medieval ramparts.

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