Tuscany is a fantastic place for growing olives for the production of high quality olive oil.
The harvest of the local olive varietals (typically Frantoio, Moraiolo & Leccino) starts around mid-October when the olives start turning color from green to black. The earlier the harvest, the lower the yield of oil but the higher the content of antioxidants, vitamins & fresh green aromas. The longer one waits to harvest & press the more oil the olives will yield but with less antioxidants and less flavor and longevity (and higher acidity).
Extra Virgin Olive Oil must be extracted by mechanical pressing (as opposed to chemical extraction) and the oleic acidity must be less than 0,8%. Great oils have way less – the best have 0,1%-0,2% acidity & the taste is fruity.
Small farms manage to pick the olives early and extract with a modern press and the taste will reflect the varieties of olives used.
So olive oil is definitely best purchased at the origin right where it is made.
As olive oil doesn’t last forever, it’s best to purchase the current vintage (yes, we talk vintages with olive oil, too).
Keep it in a cool, dark place and great quality oil will last a few years even if it does lose some of its initial bite over time.
In Tuscany we use our olive oil to cook and to garnish everything to bring great taste to even the simplest dishes, from bread to salad, pasta and meats. It enhances the flavor surprisingly, and it’s super healthy!
Ship freshly pressed olive oil directly from Tuscany available every November: www.tuscanyinabottle.com