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Tuscan olive oil

Following the fall of the Roman Empire, agricultural production and commercialization practically disappeared and the cultivation of olive trees was reduced immensely.

Tuscan Olive Oil Following the fall of the Roman Empire, agricultural production and commercialization practically disappeared and the cultivation of olive trees was reduced immensely.
During the Middle Ages, it was mainly the convents that owned the major olive plantations, before the local communes started to take interest in producing olive oil once again. While Venice and Genoa were fighting over the control of commerce and trade, Florence, which owned no ports, was the ruler of the production and distribution of olive oil. The commerce of olive oil quickly increased in economic importance since it was necessary for nourishment and soap making; by the 1300s, olive oil had become an instrument of great economic and political value. In Tuscany, the Medici family encouraged olive cultivation by renting fields on the hills at low prices to each commune of Florence devote to olive or grape growing. This is how the typical Tuscan landscape came about.

The types of olives that are usually cultivated in modern-day Tuscany are Frantoio, Moraiolo, Leccino and Pendolino. Frantoio is a native of Tuscany but has spread throughout the Italian peninsula. Its cultivation is widespread because it produces an extremely fine, agreeable and aromatic olive oil. Moraiolo, Leccino, and Pendolino varietals also make a flavorful olive oil and, as opposed to the Frantoio varietal, have a longer endurance to temperature and weather fluctuations.

The use of butter in Tuscan cooking is very rare, since olive oil has almost totally replaced butter. Oil is often added raw to already cooked dishes, like roasted beef just out of the oven, still-smoking steak, bread soups, and boiled beans. The heat emanating from the food helps the volatile components of the olive oil to free themselves, giving off a delicious fragrance. Try it and let us know if you enjoy olive oil the Tuscan way!

Olive-oil is a pillar of Tuscan agriculture. Produced in Val d’Orcia as in other parts of Sienese territory, extra-virgin olive-oil DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin) “ Terre di Siena ” is obtained from the olive varieties Moraiolo, Frantoio and Leccino. The odour is fruity and the taste bitter and slightly spicy. The landscape of the valley’s five municipalities is characterised by beautiful olive groves. As with other Val d’Orcia products, you can taste and purchase everywhere.

OLIVE OIL Tasting Recipes:
8 slices Tuscan bread
2 cloves garlic, peeled
extra-virgin olive oil
Grill the bread over the fire or toast it in the oven until golden brown. Rub it with the garlic, drizzle with abundant olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 light first-course servings or 12 hors d'oeuvre servings
4 medium tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and very coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
12 slices crusty French or Italian bread, about 3 inches in diameter
1 garlic clove, split
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar
About 15 basil, Italian parsley, or mint leaves, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Toss the tomatoes with the coarse salt and drain for 30 minutes in a colander set over a bowl.
Toast the bread slices on both sides - use the broiler so they don't get stuck in the toaster - and rub the top of each of the slices with the garlic clove. Brush the top of each of the slices with the olive oil.
Gently press down on the drained tomatoes to extract more juices, transfer them to a bowl, and toss with the vinegar and chopped herbs. Season to taste with pepper. Spoon the tomato mixture in small mounds on top of the toasts. Serve 2 bruschettas as a first course or 1 as an hors d'oeuvre or as part of an antipasto platter.


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