Olio novo 2015 [making olive oil in Tuscany]

November 14, 2015
by hand harvesting olives

In Tuscany, we call it “olio novo”. It’s the freshly made olive oil (extravergine, cold pressed) and is the result of one year of passion and care.

Last year, because of the crazy weather, no olive oil was produced in Tuscany from the small producers who do not use industrial methods. Because of this, this year’s expectation was even higher than usual. We were missing our olio novo.

Gennaro, in his field, has around 40 olive trees. He knows them one by one. He doesn’t use any chemicals around them AT ALL. Not even a weed-waker (green cutter), that could spread some gasoline in the air around them.

Gennaro and Christina collecting olives

Christina and Gennaro collecting olives. Gennaro takes care of his olive trees, one by one. You can do this only with a limited amount of trees. Big companies can produce good oil (or wine) and get the right to label it organic. But only a small dimension can guarantee a real, natural and quality product.

Gennaro’s olive trees have a very “tuscan” pruning. They are kept very clean, and the olives come out with a very intense and concentrated flavour.

We collected the olives with him by hand, gently not to “hurt” them, and start the oxidation process that would make the oil worse. We collected them and brought them strait to the “frantoio”, where they are smashed and pressed rigorously with a cold temperature.

The land and olive trees of Gennaro

The olives are treated very gently. If you bruise or pierce them, the oxidation process will start, and the oil will be worse.

We got about 10% of oil out of the overall weight of the olives. You can get more, if you wait and collect the olives later, however, Gennaro prefers to make the oil a little bit earlier, because its taste is stronger, more bodied and more complex.

Marica and Michelino selecting the olives

Marica and Michelino are screening the olives, to remove bad ones, some leaves and whatever is not wanted. The “olio novo” is a real team effort.

Three varieties of olives, Pendolino, Moraiolo and Frantoio, produced a beautiful, delicate, complex and fruity olive oil.

Olives from tuscany pendolino moraiolo frantoio

The so called “cultivar” of our Olio novo. We have three different types of olives: Pendolino, Moraiolo and Frantoio.

The colour is an intense light green, with yellow shades. It’s brilliant and shiny.

It smells like fresh fruit, with some exotic (avocado) background, flowers and spices.

The olio novo olive oil making process

The olio novo as it comes out of the frantoio (oil mill).

The taste is delicate at first, very soft and wide. It ends with a nice, slight bitter and spicy taste. It’s long lasting and extremely pleasant.

The smell, the brilliant colour and unique taste are not easy to fully describe. This olive oil is unique. It can only be made In Tuscany, around Florence and Siena, and is the result of a small producer, with a few trees.

It’s the result of a real passion and is the expression of Tuscan land. It’s an experience that I would recommend to all my friends.

The whole experience is at least one full day, from the field, to the “frantoio”,  to home, when you can finally eat your “fettunta” (roasted bread with the Olio novo), and pair it with a beautiful wine.


We recommend

A Chamapgne or a good spumante (done with the classic method) can be a great pair for a fetunta with olio novo.

We paired it with a Franciacorta spumante Berlucchi, a great deal for its price and its quality. It’s produced with a wine which is 90% chardonnay and 10% Pinot noir.

Berlucchi franciacorta spumante

Its bubbles are tiny and powerful, and they magically balance the full and soft taste of the olio novo.

When the bubbles are gone, the taste of green apple and citrus is a perfect match for another bite of fettunta, which is quite crunchy and salty.

It’s a great experience. We also had some with a very fresh sheep cheese, called “frescatello”.

Fettunta or bruschetta with olio novo and frescatello sheep cheese
Fettunta (bruschetta) with olio novo and frescatello sheep cheese

This is a real tuscan experience, meravigliosa.