Olio d'Oliva

So for the past few days we have been finishing the olive harvest and today we took all of the olives to be pressed in the town of Barberino Val d'Elsa. The company we went to press the olives is very reliable and they take the process of their produce very seriously. They own around 270 hectares and 40 of them being specialized vineyards, in the short video I made below the scenery is some of their land they grow the olives and grapes on while the photos below are from Casaglia.

In the video below Antonio who I worked with on the olive trees in Casaglia is driving the truck in front of us holding the olives from the 97 trees in Macinella, Casaglia. We took them on a 30 minute drive to Barberino Val d'Elsa where each olive was pressed to produce the olive oil.

Currently in the United States there has been a buzz around the fact that the bottles people have been buying in the supermarkets isn't really filled with olive oil. Even in a bottle you pick up that says it was made in Italy... sometimes it just means that the oil was packaged in Italy. The Italian Mafia has had a lot to do with this problem of scamming people with fake olive oil, they will take seed oil, coloring it with chlorophyll and using other chemicals to give it the fruity aroma of olive oil. Doing your research before you buy your oil is key, buying local is great too! There are some really great places right in California you can buy oil from but nothing beats Italian extra virgin olive oil. Today my family bought 5 liters of olive oil to be mailed back home and yes the shipping is expensive but spending my last four months in the Tuscan countryside has shown me how important this stuff really is! 

You may ask, "Why are you doing an entire post on olive oil?" "Is it really that important?" AND MY ANSWER IS YES IT IS! Italians may love their gelato and pastries but cream and butter isn't something I have touched since being here because many of the older Italians here don't cook with it at home! We use olive oil in the place of butter which sounds like it isn't doing much because growing up we are told to stay away from putting too much oil into our bodies because it is "unhealthy" but if you are putting the right kind of oil into your body it has some great results. Olive Oil can help decrease inflammation, risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and it also helps calcium absorption. It is a million times better to have a fruit oil instead of animal produce in your body and that is just a fact.

Here is the information on how you can buy quality oil and wine from Tuscany, Italy online and trust where and who it is coming from. The man who runs the shipping at this company is the son of Antonio and is very kind and helped me to ship back some other things home with the oil to my family.

Preparazione Sause Pomodoro per l'inverno

When i'm not working outside around the property or helping in the apartments you can find me in the kitchen with Gloria. The other day we spent hours in the kitchen preparing tomato and basil to puree for the winter. It is a very simple process but it has its complex elements as well.

The tomatoes are all organic and grown right outside of the kitchen a dozen feet away. They are carefully watched, watered and pruned. Compost is a very important element in Gloria and Stelios' system because we don't waste anything here. Whatever isn't used is put right back in the ground or fed to the animals. As you can see from the images above they are not the prettiest of fruit and nothing like I see back at home but they aren't sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals that we find so often in stores at home. I am sure that the majority of these would not be up to par when it comes to the visual aspect of the fruit back in Michigan but they are still edible and they serve their purpose. The tomatoes here have to be the best I have ever eaten, before Italy I would never eat a raw tomato but since being here it is something we do quite often.

There isn't a lot of ingredients or a "special family recipe"  when it came to the preparation. It stays fresh longer in the wine cellar if it is simple and doesn't contain a lot of ingredients. Also while sharing these with you I must stress how beautiful the kitchen is Macinella is, I never thought I would be someone to enjoy cooking as much as I have lately.

Only two weeks have gone by and I have already le.arned so much not only about Italian food, preparation and lifestyle but also about my own back in the states and how I plan to change my eating habits when I return. I hope to write a more detailed post next week on the political views on small markets and organic foods being sold in the streets of Italy seeing that it is such a "hot" topic in the news currently here

We propose a stay in the heart of Tuscany, where culture, environment and human relationships are intertwine and blend. High up on a hill, home also to an ancient medieval tower from the eleventh century, is situated Macinella “Torre del Colombaio”, for this reason the place is of great historical and cultural interest. With exceptional views of San Gimignano and all its territory, you can enjoy a relaxing holiday in contact with history and nature in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Our six apartments are authentic vintage residences retrieved in the architectural style of the place...

A Playlist Hopefully to Last


On this trip I was debating on what I should bring to listen to... I didn't want certain genres of music that would remind me too much of the people I left behind but on the other hand I wanted something that I knew and that I was positive I wouldn't get sick of. Which is why I loaded my dads old 1st generation Ipod with "String Quartet Tributes" to some well known songs. There was something inviting and comforting listening to in on the train from Firenze S. M. Novella to Poggibonsi-S. Gimignano and enjoying the view of the Tuscany Countryside in Italy out of my window

I will leave some of my favorites here with you;

Sixteen years and countless records later, that simple formula has become the blueprint for Vitamin String Quartet, widely regarded as the source for innovative string renditions of popular music.
— Vitamin String Quartet