Tuscany in the Fall
and What does it mean for travelers?
For a traveler visiting Tuscany in the fall months of September, October, and November it is going to mean harvest time.
Actually, the months of August, September, and October are normally dedicated to the vendemmia, the Italian word for grape harvest and in Tuscany. In many cases, this is associated with Chianti Classico, Vernaccia from San Gimignano, Brunello and Vin Nobile. But you can also find lots of other types of fruit from the end of the season (apples, pears & figs) as well as the famous porcini mushrooms!
Some of our favorite flavors include the last of the tomatoes, for rich sauces and flavorful plates of pasta. However, for the Tuscans, the highlight of the season is the arrival of the new extra virgin olive oil, a sort of green-liquid gold. In fact, the months of November and December always means olives for the Tuscans. As you bike through scenic Chianti, you will come to the conclusion that every Tuscan farm has its own olive trees.
No wonder, extra virgin olive oil has always been the base for our regional cooking.
Fall Harvests & Colors
While admiring the fabulous shades of fall – there are several natural consequences to enjoy. Do you know what they are?
Harvesting grapes has pretty much become a “commercial” operation, often calling in outsiders who have professional skills handling grapes. The harvesting of olives, on the other hand, is a social event where all eager pickers are welcome. Families, friends even colleagues from work and friends of friends, gather together to clean these majestic trees of their precious fruit. They may be hoping to be paid with a bottle of olive oil after the production – but in many cases, they just get a home-cooked delicious Tuscan meal with a liberal dose of last year’s olive oil on the hand-rolled pasta, roasted meat, and sauteed seasonal vegetables. But that’s good too!
Thanks to several olive tree varieties and the rocky, mineral-filled soil, Chianti is well-known for producing one of the best quality extra virgin olive oil in all of Italy.
The more popular olive tree varieties are Coreggiolo, Leccino, Moraiolo, and Frantoio. Some say a mix of these is the best choice for a delicious result.
More About This Fall Flavour
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of a kind flavor, and it is both delicious and healthy. Our local wine and olive oil expert explains a few of the important things to know about this liquid gold. From a nutritional point of view, extra virgin olive oil is highly valued for its healthy attributes:
It fights cholesterol. Need we say more ??
Antioxidant effect. Fatty acids and anti-aging vitamins (E, A, D & K) fight free-radicals are considered the major cause of skin aging. One of the most precious, natural inhibitors is extra-virgin olive oil, whose lipid profile is very similar to that of human skin. Thus, it is an excellent ingredient for producing cosmetics such as soaps, shower gels, and creams.
I always love to tell my guests that more extra-virgin olive oil means more beauty!
Children. It improves the absorption of many nutrients, which is good for the growth of children’s brains and bones. Along with fun, healthy exercise – like biking with the family.
A healthy digestive system. It can protect our digestive system from ulcers. Studies show that by daily adding extra-virgin olive oil to your diet may help treat or prevent stomach ulcers.
Highly digestible. Extra-virgin olive oil is 100% digestible (sunflowers-oil 85%, peanuts-oil 81% and corn oil 36%).
Nutritionists recommend three tablespoons of Chianti extra virgin olive oil per day for a healthy lifestyle.
Taste Testing this Fall Flavor in Tuscany
You won’t be able to visit Tuscany in fall without tasting extra virgin olive oil — just pressed. Or perhaps we should rephrase that, you shouldn’t visit Tuscany in fall without tasting some fresh-pressed olive oil.
And when you do, here are just a few basics things to know about olives oil.
In order to maintain the perfect integrity of the flavor and nutritional values, olives are pressed in a continuous cold cycle hence the name cold press. This allows the extra virgin organic olive oil to have an acidity of not more 0,8 grams per 100 grams. Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in aromatic characteristics contributing to its uniqueness.
It must undergo a sensory evaluation to describe its unique attributes: fruity, bitter and pungent. Good extra-virgin olive oil will smell like fresh green, ripe olives. The fruitiness refers to vegetable notes (green olive oil fruit and ripe fruit notes). So think of artichokes, grass, and herbs as “fruit” when you taste extra-virgin olive oil! This typical flavor of extra virgin olive oil comes from green olives just starting to ripen.
The pungency sensation (just the tiniest tingle) is a positive characteristic of extra virgin olive oil that is young and fresh. Long conservation and reuse are possible but do not refrigerate the product. The extra virgin olive oil can be used raw or cooked, and it is the perfect alternative to butter. Here are some of our favorite ways to use this delicious fall flavor from Tuscany at home and in your kitchen.