As the wine, the olive oil has always being something more than a simple land product.
Olive tree seems to be born in Israel and in the antiquity both tree and olive oil were well known and used: Egyptians, Phoenicians , Babylonians , Grecians and then Romans, each one of these ancient populations knew and used the olive oil, not only for food use, but also medicinal and cosmetic. So it was a very important product for the economy, as it was a much requested and highly sold good.
Olive trees arrive in Italy for the first time through the Grecians, and the Etruscans had large plantations already in the VII century before Christ. But t is only after the XI century A.D. that its cultivation starts to be extended all over Italian territory, especially in Tuscany, that is nowadays the highest production region of Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, with other regions like Puglia, Liguria, Marche and Umbria.
The olive harvest in Tuscany takes place between November and December, and traditional techniques requiring hands’ work are still used together with the more modern technologies through machineries.
How was the olive oil born? Before the invention of the millstone, pressing systems were very simple: olives were put in a stone container and grinded with clubs and sticks, the obtained paste was put in baskets placed one on the top of each other and so squeezed, to let come out the liquid. After a decanting period, the olive oil was ready.
Nowadays, the modern technologies never forget the old traditions: some presses still use to grind in millstones during the first phase of the olive oil production.
It is exactly in this period that everywhere in Tuscany take place events about the new born oil “Olio Nuovo” : presses open their doors to the visitors, town festivals are organized in its name, small producers offer tastings in their farm, also in the Chianti area and all over around Certaldo, San Gimignano and Volterra…
Which are the peculiarities of a such special land product? The matt but intense and fresh color, the bitter smell of just harvested olives, the nice taste rolling up the palate… All sensations to be lived and tasted quickly, before that this first soul of the extra virgin olive oil disappears. The best way to taste a so simple and old flavor is on a hot roasted slice of bread, with few salt and garlic… but please call it simply Bruschetta or, if you prefer, Fettunta.