Sunday, 29 November 2009

Olive Oil

We arrived here just in time for the olive harvest and, although I was glued to my computer editing the biography, Neil spent some beautiful autumn days on a ladder jiggling branches with a length of bamboo.
After this hi-tech operation, the olives fall into nets spread under the trees and are scooped up into plastic bins, brought inside and spread on the floor to dry off. It’s a job for lots of friends.

Then they have to be picked through to take out leaves, mouldy olives, bits of twig etc, before being put into sacks to take to the local Frantoio for pressing.














They don’t press in the traditional way any more, mashing the olives and spreading the paste on woven mats before screwing the whole lot down.
The Frantoio is full of gleaming machinery - the olives go in a hopper at one end and a greeny/yellow sludge pours out at the other into stainless steel milk churns.



























This year it’s yellow rather than green - something to do with the soil apparently. It’s nothing like the olive oil we buy in England - even the posh Extra Virgine. There’s something nectar-like about it - medicinal in the tradition of magic potions and elixirs.
My grandmother used to keep a small bottle in the cupboard for earache - to be warmed on a heated teaspoon! But this stuff is much better ingested, preferably with warm bread, Tuscan tomatoes, some home-made pasta and a sprinkling of Peccarino cheese.

6 comments:

  1. I have never seen or tasted yellow olive oil. Now, I want to.

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  2. Wow.
    I'm just drooling at the thought. Fresh crusty bread and homegrown olive oil. Heaven.

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  3. Nectar is such a beautiful and descriptive word! Do you know what variety of olives yielded this lovely golden oil? In what town is the frantoio located?

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  4. I love the working pictures. Looks like a really communal enterprise. The egg-yellow oil in the bottle does have a look of magic.
    wx

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  5. Glad I was able to make you all salivate! Tuscan food really is delicious. Olio2go - I don't know exactly what kind of olive trees these are - only that they are very, very old. The terraces here go back a couple of thousand years - some of the mule tracks were made by the Romans. the Frantoio is a community one at a place called Vado in a valley called Lombrici, near Camaiore on teh fringes of the Alpi Apuane.
    Kathleen

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  6. The egg-yellow oil in the bottle does have a look of magic.

    Work from home India

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