Italian food culture: our liquid gold

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Olive oil is known to be the “king of ingredients of Italian cuisine,” especially in Tuscany where the climate is perfect for the cultivation of olives. The craft of turning olives into oil has stayed in the Mediterranean Tuscan region over thousands of years and the techniques have been the same and passed down from generation to generation. We Italians like to judge our oil by its smell, taste and colour. If we didn’t use olive oil in our cooking it would be like not using maple syrup with American pancakes!

Italians cannot be separated from olive oil. Here at L’Osteria di Giovanni, we use Olio Extravergine di Oliva, Tenuta Poggio ai Mandorli. Expect there to be olive oil in most or even all our dishes! The colour of olive oil is very important and fresh oil colour can be a bright green to green-gold. There are different types of olive oil, some have an intense peppery taste. In salads and vegetables the olive oil will have a more buttery and smooth taste.

In Italian, the phrase “spremitura a freddo” means cold pressed. Heat is needed to release oil from the olives but no artificial heat is used in cold pressed olive oil. Our oil is of superior category olive oil obtained directly from olives only by mechanical means.

Olive oil does not only add the finishing touches to food dishes but it has many benefits for us’.  It’s natural and it is nothing but the olive fruit juice! It’s full of vitamin E, K and A. Vitamin E benefits the body as an antioxidant.

Check out these fun facts about olive oil we bet you didn’t know before!

  • Olive is a fruit, not a vegetable! It’s rather strange then that it is known as a vegetable oil!

  • Since it’s a fruit, technically it’s a fruit juice. Olives are pressed to release their juices, just like oranges, lemons and other fruits.

  • Olive oil was unavailable in the United States until Italian, Spanish and Greek immigrants began importing it from their home countries.

  • Extra virgin is the highest quality and most expensive form of olive oil, although it is far cheaper in Italy than in many of the countries it is exported to.

  • In Ancient Rome women applied olive oil to their skin and hair after bathing as protection from the sun and to maintain a pleasant fragrance. Whilst it is indeed amazingly good for your skin and hair, it does make you smell rather like a salad!

“Olio d’oliva di categoria superiore ottenuto direttamente dalle olive e unicamente mediante procedimenti meccanici.”

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