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Extra Virgin Olive Oil, The Tuscan’s Gold

Tuscany is one of the regions in Italy with the highest production of olive oil, a precious and essential element of tradition and the Mediterranean kitchen. A Tuscan's table cannot be without olive oil. We use it not only to dress salads but also for daily cooking. Here there is a long tradition of producing olive oil, which has been passed on to the new generations. The quality of olive oil depends on many factors, including the land, the exposure and placement of the olive trees. But what many do not know is that to produce a good quality oil, the olives must be harvested when they are not completely mature.

This is what gives the oil its intense green colour (rather than yellow), a definite spicy taste and better consistency. Equally important is pressing the olives as soon as possible after they're harvested; ideally within one or two days. I recommend this recipe for a traditional, Tuscan dish that is very easy to prepare and is a perfect example of the delightful cuisine you can sample here!

La Panzanella:
300gr of Tuscan wood-fired bread
4 large tomatoes
1 red onion
1 cucumber
some fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil.

Place the bread in a basin of hot water, with a weight placed on top to keep the bread beneath the surface until it is wet through, and then squeeze it well by hand. Slice the onions and cucumber, chop the tomatoes and tear the basil by hand, placing them in a large salad bowl. Add the bread and dress with extra virgin olive oil, salt and vinegar, to taste. Place in the fridge for a minimum of half an hour before serving.

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