Create memories, build experiences, savor tradition.
Just imagine a weekend in Tuscany surrounded by olive trees. Feel its aroma gently caressing your sense of smell, your taste buds savoring the very best extra virgin olive oil. Nature, culture, tourism, leisure. This is oleotourism. A sensorial blessing. Happiness in the form of liquid gold.
I don’t want to make you envious, but you should know that every word I’m jotting down here is being written in the gentle embrace of a Tuscan breeze and the region’s magical views. I have with me some typical Tuscan bread and my best bottle of Carapelli. This leads me to reflect on something. The whole world recognizes the value of Mediterranean cuisine, that’s a fact. Its hallmark is extra virgin olive oil, the fruit of its exquisite quality.
You will know that this liquid gold is one of the most widely recognized products thanks to its unique qualities, which embody all of the mastery and art that go into making it. And oleotourism will allow you to discover its secrets. Montalcino, San Gimignano, Siena, Mugello, Lucca and Chianti are just some of the areas that I recommend you visit. However, it would be ridiculous to ignore the fact that there are many other marvelous places beyond Tuscany. I remember that bottle of Casarossa from my friends Pamela Rinaldi and Tommaso Ferrara, a certified origin (DOP) olive oil from Terra di Bari. A wonderful product and the best reward for the recovery of that ‘giardino di ulivi.’
In any case, look for an ‘azienda agricola.’ It won’t be difficult to find one and enjoy a genuine experience. There are many experiences in my life that I treasure. Even so, I still find it incredible that I can travel back in an instant thanks to my sense of taste. And speaking of traveling … I hereby offer you my pledge that I shall devote part of my time to sharing some of the most interesting sights of different routes relating to olive oil, such as the ‘Strada dell’Olio dei Monti Pisani’ or ‘dell’Olio Chianti Classico.’ That’s a promise.
Now close your eyes and imagine sitting on the terrace of an ‘azienda’ among the olive groves that line these hills. There is so much tradition in these parts. I recall the olive growers beating the branches of the olive trees and unleashing a downpour of olives, the raw material. Today the process is quite different. But you should know that innovation also requires expertise. They will explain it all to you.
Oleotourism will help you to understand how quality and respect for the product are carefully nurtured. You will discover the different types of olives grown in Italy, which are many. I myself shall offer the first lesson: the olives that are harvested here are called: Frantoio, Leccino, Cima di Bitonto, Carolea and Ogliarola. But if you are looking for a more intense and persistent flavor, it would be better to go for Nocellara del Belice, Ogliarola Garganica, Tonda Iblea, Coratina, Frantoio and Moraiolo. Nevertheless, you can find a fruitier and balanced aroma in the mouth with Coratina, Ogliarola Barese, Frantoio, Leccino, Cima di Bitonto and Cima di Mola. A short but intense lesson.
Along the way, you’ll discover the entire production process. We can also find a good part of this heritage at the oil mills (the traditional factories). You’ll learn how the product is processed based on tradition and know-how. And how a premium flavor is achieved by the Blenders Masters.
Like me, you’ll want to make the most of these breaks in order to savor a little treat. Oleotourism really introduces you to a whole new world. And this knowledge leads to pleasure, enjoyment and the satisfaction of being able to distinguish and identify the best products, learning how to use them in order to pay marvelous homage to your senses. This is the culmination of a process imbued with mastery. Because knowing how to identify the best olive oil is part of this art. It makes you a veritable master.