EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Extra virgin olive oil “Terre di Siena” (Denomination of Origin Protected)
We Tuscans are producers of olive oil – of a true, pure, and characteristic olive oil – obtained of a careful selection of the proper trees. Many have described the hills of Tuscany as gardens, not fields where crops are tilled. This is due to the quality of the light, neither strong, nor abundant, but which penetrates every where, repelling those plant diseases which derive from cold and humidity.
Our olives are harvested by hand, one by one, plucking them from the plant with a patient resignation while they are still green lest the wind carry them away or frosts damage them. They are allowed to fall into nets, once upon a time of silk, now of more ordinary materials, then transferred to baskets or packing cases and from there brought safely home for transport to the olive mills. Large producers deliver the olives to be milled on a daily basis, both as method of quality control and also to free up the wooden cases in which they have been transported. The mills themselves are of two types: the traditional ones with granite millstones and vertical presses and the modern ones with centrifuges, all glistening clean stainless steel, which seem more like a machine for a hospital. The olives are cleaned of their leaves and stems through a powerful air suction, are then washed in running water to eliminate sand, dust, and pebbles, and pressed and stirred, and then the oil extracted by temperatures which should not exceed 82 degrees Farenheit: excessively hot or cold temperatures can only damage the vitamins of the fruit. This is what Tuscans call “new oil” (olio nuovo): dense, opalescent, fragrant.
The territory all around Montalcino is very prosperous because of its special ground, perfect for vines and olive-trees. The Fattoria dei Barbi, with its 8 hectares of olive-groves (1186 olive-trees of the Correggiolo variety), is plunged into this fertile countryside. It is situated at 350 metres of altitude on a clay and stony soil. The olives are hand picked in November and then pressed at a temperature between 22° and 25°C. This pressing process is called “cold pressing”. The result is a green olive-oil with a fruity flavour and a slight after taste of almonds.
Fattoria dei Barbi olive-oil is perfect for typical tuscan and mediterranean dishes. Excellent served on soups and salads.