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On our must have list when looking for the perfect Italian property was amongst others – an olive grove. Not totally sure why as back then in 2003 we didn’t even know the health benefits of EVO but the thought of producing our very own oil was a dream of the ‘Italian good life. Now a bottle of our oil is common place in our kitchen, a part of daily life, a drizzle here and a drizzle there. I have discovered so many uses for it in almost all my dishes, including many cakes I bake. Poured onto freshly toasted sourdough bread it has become a favourite snack that I often eat standing up, whilst in the midst of other kitchen work.
Our first olive harvest was a bit of a challenge and definitely one of the least pleasant! It was november 2004 and the house we were beginning to restore had no roof on, we had three small children to look after, and no idea how to even pick the olives. Our Italian neighbours ( I will tell you about them another time) lent us their old nets which were full of holes and told us that it was very important to remove all the leaves and twigs from the picked olives. We picked by day, and once kids were in bed we strapped on head torches( we had no real electricity back then) and removed all the leaves. To add to our exhaustion, the only appointment we could get to press the olives was during the night. Off Thomas went and was gone most of the night. He discovered that for a few euros the olives could be shaken clean of their leaves but as we now know, the local farmers are very, very careful with their ‘pennies’.
When finally the oil, our very own single estate, organic EVO oil came home we prepared the local white bread and drizzled on the viscous, luminescent green oil onto the slices. With it dripping down our hands as we lifted the bread slices, we tasted it for the first time. It was and is peppery, with undertones of green grass. We felt so proud! Read more