Una spremuta di olive..

by Laura Gray on November 13, 2009

..freshly squeezed olive juice.

On driving into Montalcino, the town is announced together with a large billboard that proclaims “Città del Miele” – the honey city. Whatever. Montalcino actually has a long history of honey production which has been overshadowed by Brunello in the last 30 years. The other product for which this area is renowned is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Il Palazzone makes a tiny quantity of oil, produced with a great deal of love and attention throughout the year. We pick when the olives are just ripening, which means that we have a risible yield of incredible quality – this year we are getting under 9 kg of oil per 100 kg of olives pressed. We started harvesting at the end of September which is extremely early.

We spurn all the modern technology for picking; the various machines for rattling and shaking off the olives that damage the olives, and instead we literally pick by hand, olive by olive. We use nets spread underneath the trees to catch any stray olives and to do a final selection of the fruit before we take the oil to the press. We press our olives within five hours of picking them.

Our oil is IGP certified and of the highest quality.

Last year I created a tree adoption project called Club 100. The membership form and more details about the project are on our website.

Members receive a signed certificate of ownership which includes GPS coordinates and the tree itself has a hand-painted ceramic plaque with the owners’ name on it for a year. Each owner receives three 500 ml bottles of oil, more or less the production of one tree.

I launched the project last year as a way of being able to make our Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a labour intensive and traditional way.

Production is very limited: around 700 bottles a year.

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