The Laudemio Consortium: Producing Quality Tuscan Olive Oil

by Laura on January 30, 2018

in Food, Jan29, Partaking, Purchasing

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As I make way through another day in the kitchen, I grab my tin of olive oil, or jug of canola oil, and get cooking. Mostly I don’t ‘think’ about the oil, except that it is a better alternative to what my Mom used to use – Wesson Oil or Crisco.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a lunch and tasting of the olive oils from the Laudemio Consortium from Tuscany, and I am once again reminded that choosing quality ingredients elevates the experience. Olive oil is an ingredient, and if I’m going to take the time to make my own meals, I must choose a quality ingredients, right down to the olive oil.

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The Laudemio Consortium

The name Laudemio is an Italian word used to indicate the best part of the harvest that was reserved exclusively for the signore of the villa or manor. It was the name chosen 30 years ago when the Laudemio Consortium was founded as the first private Italian institution created with the objective to fully express the art of Tuscan olive oil production, with an emphasis on the land of its origin.

Well ahead of European legislation, the producers signed a pact of quality, which ensured excellence in olive oil production. As part of the consortium, producers must follow certain rules on where to plant, what to plant, when to harvest, how long to store before they press, and must pass a series of blind tastings.

All olive trees harvested for the Laudemio production must be registered individually, specifying the typology and age. Further, the timing of the harvest itself varies each year depending on the climate, but it must be completed before November 30. To properly conserve the olives after harvest, and before going to press, olives are placed in long shallow crates, which allow for the air to circulate and the olives to mature. Within 48 hours of being picked, the olives are sent to the cold press. Finally, each bottle is individually tested by experts to guarantee high quality standards. The result is an olive oil with a peppery flavor that is bright in color.

 

The Lunch Tasting

In attendance was Diana Frescobaldi, from Marchesi de’Frescobaldi, the family who helped build the Consortium 3 decades ago. Only a handful of the Consortium’s 21 members were represented on the table at the tasting, but given what I tasted, I’m assured that the strict standards have produced quality across the board.

What I was reminded of that afternoon was that sometimes you recognize something in an ingredient which inspires a love for food. Cooking doesn’t only require a recipe; it also requires an ingredient which inspires a passion — only then, can you create something truly delicious.

A huge thank you goes out to those who were in the kitchen transforming ingredients into a delightful meal: Chef Amaryll Schwertner of Boulettes Larder (where the lunch was hosted), together with Chef Darren McRonald of Pullman Kitchen in Santa Rosa, CA, and Rolando Beramendi of Manicaretti Italian Food Importers.

This delicious lunch reminded me that quality ingredients inspire my passion for cooking, as well as my desire to share the experience with my family and friends!

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