Enjoying the Taste of Tuscany at Home

When I was on the Overseas Adventure Travel trip, Tuscany and Umbria: Italy’s Rustic Heartland, I experienced more food and wine delights then I ever have on any other trip. Or rather, delights that were explained and enumerated, not simply enjoyed at mealtimes. Our trip to the Pruneti olive oil facility in the Chianti region of Tuscany in Sao Paolo known as Chianti Classico was no exception. Weeks after I arrived back home, I’ve only just started enjoying that extra virgin olive oil with meals prepared in my kitchen, and at a price I cannot beat in my local grocery store, especially considering the EU DPO designation on the bottles, which ensures it comes from the region.

Our group enjoyed an olive oil tasting at their mill Salone dell’Olio.. The Pruneti brothers opened it in 2020. The land and it’s 30,000 tree olive tree grove was taken over by the three Pruneti brothers in 1990 after  the family owned the land and produced olive oil as a family business for 160 years. Even though it was the third olive oil tasting I’ve gone to on an OAT trip, it was completely different from the other two I’ve been to, one in Israel and one in Sicily. They didn’t serve any food with the oils as the other olive oil mills have for travelers who wanted to learn and experience the tastes. Rather, we were served three small glasses, and we tried three different extra virgin oils in the shot glasses that we had to warm up with our hands first before sipping. It was more like a wine tasting, where we could taste different ” notes.” The three oils had very complex and uniquely different tastes, after tastes, and  clearly distinct notes  as we tasted them. One in particular even had a striking kick to it after my tasting. I was able to find the name of the company online, because a group member suggested I photograph it when we learned they were  available to purchase on Amazon for a more reasonable price then having to pay the shipping cost back to the US. However, if purchased there, we were told the shipping is less for two bottles. In addition, we were told that not all three were available online.

I discovered Olive Lovers when I got home, and they are in fact a US distributor of Pruneti olive oil among other foreign brands. I was able to get all three of the oils in a sampler set of 100ml/3.5 oz each bottle for $25 for the set and $10 for shipping. A regular sized bottle of each can in fact be purchased for $38 plus shipping, and all three are in fact available to purchase online. However, with the recent decline of the Euro and having reached parity with the dollar for the first time in 20 years, the cost for the olive oil itself is much less expensive on the Pruneti website, although the cost of shipping may still be more than the $10 I paid.

 Following are details on the three different oils from the Pruneti website that includes information on their  products.

Pruneti Frantoio Biologico  This  extra virgin olive oil is considered excellent with legumes, grilled vegetables, meat, and strong flavored dishes. It has a medium bur robust intensity produced from  green Frantoio  olives and has notable aromas of artichoke and tomato vine. It was a Gold award winner in 2021, and also pairs well with leafy green salads and garden salads.  

Pruneti Leccino Biologico  This medium intensity organic extra virgin olive oil is produced from green Leccino olives and has notable aromas of grass and green herbs. Its a Best In Class award winner in 2021 from Monocultivar Olive Oil. It pairs well with leafy green salads and raw vegetables, and is also good with carpacchio of fish or red meat, savory pies, aged cheeses, and dipped with bread.   

Pruneti Moraiolo Biologico  This robust intensity organic extra virgin olive oil is produced from green Moraiolo olives, and has notable aromas of almonds and green herbs. Its a Gold award winner in 2020 from Flos Olei. It pairs well with bitter green salads and roasted or grilled vegetables, white meats, grilled fish, cooked sweet vegetables, and soft cheese.  

 I’ve enjoyed learning about extra virgin olive oil with each presentation I’ve had in my travels. It always seems there is more to learn, and it adds a lot to my cooking. But this week was my ultimate souvenir from that trip. When my olive oils arrived in the mail, I enjoyed a true taste of Tuscany (and other parts of Italy) with baked salmon and a salad; Balsamic Vinegar from Modena, spices purchased from Sicily, and the entire salad mixed with drops from the above Pruneti Moralo. It had the wonderful kick that I recalled tasted like pepper and was the perfect accompaniment to the salad.  This was hardly the food porn I had experienced in Tuscany and Umbria, but a wonderful memory, nonetheless.

Photo credits: Pruneti photos from Pruneti.com. Traveler photos by Jann Segal

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