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Trip to Tuscany

Together with the Liquido d'Oro team




It’s fall in Italy, which means time to harvest! The harvest of the grapes has just finished when the farmers can continue harvesting their olives. Ideal for us to travel to Tuscany and start working. Let’s get to it!

There we were, five early birds on Schiphol ready to go to Milan. We were super surprised to meet Ridder and Menno on time. They’re not really morning people. Of course Valerie, Remco and Lonneke were on time.

From Milan, we’re off to Tuscany. Which is quite some km. Thanks to Ridder’s driving skills we arrived early in ‘Castel del Piano’. Food is our top priority. Let’s go to ‘Osteria da Ruge e Ciccio’.  

It has all started in this small restaurant. Ridder tells us about his adventure in Italy. When he was 17, he decided to go to Tuscany, Italy even though his parents strongly disagreed. He was out of pocket-money after a week, when he decided to get a job. Picking olives at a small olive grove is what he did. He was fascinated the beautiful oil that comes out of the olives. And exactly that magic, is what he wanted to show us.

We’ve come to eat and that’s certainly what we’ll do. After one glimpse on the menu, I could already tell we are in need of our Italian speaking Ridder and Valerie. The orders for the antipasti, pasta and secondi are taken by the passionate waiter/ owner/ cook and are approved with even more passion. Olive oil of the new harvest is put on the tables, which tastes wonderful! The food is simple, yet brilliant. Even the dolci with chocolate and chestnut cake is delicious. Tomorrow is another work day in which we’ll have to step up our game to compensate for the dinner we just had.

The next morning, we started off with an Italian breakfast at Corsini, with a cappuccino and sweet pastry-like bread roll. Our next stop: La Poderina Toscana, where Davide has prepared a huge lunch. Davide is a farmer that grows his olives according to the Demeter method. He considers the human, as well as the plant and soil. He takes us to his olive grove and puts us to work. Now I know what the filling lunch was for.  

Armed with large ‘combs’ we carefully shake the olives from the trees. The olives are collected by a net on the floor and the ripe ones are selected. They are put in large crates. After 5 minutes the realization kicked in we will all have sore muscles tomorrow... That’s when our respect for the farmers grew even more.

Together with Davide we drive two giant crates of olives straight to the pressing machine. Davide is extremely focused. All of the olives are put in the massive machines. First, the branches are filtered out. Then the olives are rinsed with cold water, after which they’re cut by the pressing machine. Purple olive pulp remains and a kiwi green olive oil appears along with a delicate and fresh smell. Magical. It’s our Il Primo!

Suddenly, farmers from all directions get to the olive press. They’ve all brought their own freshly picked olives. Here at Davide’s, it’s the place to be.

A visit to Daniele Innocenti has been planned for the next day. The farmer with this lovely name has a smaller olive grove, on an exquisite location. Picture a postal card of Tuscany with its breathtaking hills, the sun and slim cypresses. Grandpa Innocenti tells the most beautiful stories. About the olive grove being like marriage; there are good times and bad times. Or the comparison of an olive grove to a woman; she doesn’t need much make up to look pretty. In the end, the result is all that matters. The oil is perfect.

Daniele tells the olives are of very high quality this season. The olive fly hasn’t had the chance to damage the olives because of the dry and hot summer. The olive fly loves humidity. The sun has fed the olives and enriched their flavor. That’s what they’ve prepared the best olive oil from.
 

Written by - Lonneke Mulder

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