Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is a typical product of our region and it can be considered one of the top representative of the Made in Tuscany tradition. You have to know that there’s a lot of work behind a bottle of EVO oil: from harvest to pressing, here’s how this Tuscan deliciousness is created.
Let’s make some oil
First thing first, to make a good oil we need good weather: Tuscany is a lucky land because its climate varies depending on the area, giving the possibility to create different kinds of oil. All of them are characterized by a strong flavor and an intense perfume. Since the weather is so varied, the olive harvest period depends on the area too, ranging normally from November to mid December. As for grapes, olive harvest is a ritual that attracts many visitors: farmers usually pick the olives up manually, using the same techniques adopted by their ancestors. The olive groves get full of baskets and active people who have their lunch break directly in the field not to lose too much time. Picking up olives also means to make new friends!
Once the harvest is done, it’s pressing time. The olives are washed and defoliated. Tuscan farmers normally prefer cold pressing because it maintains all the organoleptic properties of the fruits unaltered. This is made using big granite wheels which press the olives without heating them up - the temperature stays below 27° C. Nowadays there’s also a new cold pressing method, which uses a modern olive-press with continuous cycle and a decanter. This new way is more hygienic and satisfies the commercial demand better. The next step is called “gramolatura”: the product is slowly mixed to ease the oil extraction. Oil and water are then divided through a centrifugation process. Our oil is ready to be bottled!
How to recognize if the oil is good or not
Now that you know the basics, let’s talk about the final product. How can you know that the oil you want to buy is a good one? Well, the first thing you should do is smelling it as if it was a good glass of wine. A great Tuscan oil should smell like grass, olive, vegetables and fruit! It shouldn’t be too fluent, and when tasted it should have a bitter and spicy taste. Tuscan EVO oils are well-known for their low acidity, which doesn’t overcome the 0,8%. Since the climate varies depending on the territory, each oil has a different flavor: it can be more or less fruity, bitter, spicy or with a more delicate scent.
La Fettunta, the best and traditional way to try our oil
Fettunta is a typical snack made with bread, garlic and oil. Tuscan bread is different from other breads because it has no salt, something that helps because it doesn’t alter the flavor of the oil. Once toasted, our slice of bread is rubbed with some garlic and covered with oil. Our Siena - San Gimignano tour stops in Chianti as well, giving you the possibility to try not only wine, but also some Fettunta, cheeses and cuts!