Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Green Gold

Giovanni and his family are still picking olives. This is what it's all about. Extra virgin, low acid, herby, grassy, spicey. It's green because of polyphenols, antioxidants you only get by picking early by hand and milling immediately.

The spicy kick you get in the back of the throat is from the polyphenols, too. If a bottle says Tuscan and it doesn't have that kick, you have to wonder where it's from or how old it is. Because of it, one way people around here characterize their new oil is on the "cougher" scale. When I tasted my friend Roberto's new oil, he was pleased. "That's a 3-cougher," he grinned.

Picking early means yields are low, so we only get a liter or two per tree on average, 15-18% of the olive's weight in oil. 400 kilos yields about 60 liters of oil. It's a lot of work and despite prices in the states, there's no money in it at this scale at this end of the pipeline. It's a labor of love. If you're ever lucky enough to get a bottle of our oil, please store it carefully out of heat and light and use it up within 6-months for best taste.

After visiting the Montisi olive festival, I treated myself to the confluence of my four favorite flavors from my favorite season: new oil, new wine (the original beaujolais nouveau), cinta senese proscuito (like Spanish pata negra), and a fresh white truffle (second to none). What could be better on a sunny Sunday afternoon?

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