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Posts tagged ‘olives’

Come Si Fa

Artisanal spaghetti from Benedetto Cavalieri in Maglie, Puglia, is come si fa la pasta in Italy.

Artisanal spaghetti from Benedetto Cavalieri in Maglie, Puglia, is come si fa la pasta in Italy.

We have come to understand that most Italians we know are not particularly burdened by uncertainty. Firm ideas about come si fa (how it’s done) are routinely offered on a staggering range of topics. From child rearing to olive harvesting, there is little room for doubt here on the correct approach. Confusingly, though, the correct approach varies widely depending upon the advice giver. So we stagger through our days in a valiant effort to make sense of this wellspring of well-intentioned advice, secure only in our conviction that we routinely fail to grasp Italian come si fa in so many fundamental ways. Read more

Ten Things About Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Centuries-old olive tree in the Alto Salento, Puglia.

Centuries-old olive trees in the Alto Salento, Puglia.

Our immersion in the world of extra virgin olive oil has consumed our lives. As we get ready to launch our fledgling Pascarosa venture, we’re learning more and more about the extraordinary benefits of extra virgin olive oil. Like you, I have used extra virgin olive oil almost exclusively in cooking without a complete understanding of its incredible value. What we’ve found goes far beyond our formerly hazy understanding that olive oil is probably pretty good for the human body.

At the risk of droning on and on about our new favorite topic, here’s a round-up of extra virgin olive oil’s top ten attributes. Tell me you’re not completely stunned by at least some of them. Read more

Salute

Artichokes are still plentiful in the markets here. They're high in antioxidants, great for the liver and may reduce cell proliferation in some cancers.

Artichokes are still plentiful in the markets here. They’re high in antioxidants, great for the liver and may reduce cell proliferation in some cancers.

Like the rest of the overindulged world, our thoughts have turned to the virtues of simplicity in the wake of Italian holiday season excess. We had a wonderful time during the constant round of parties, friends and multicourse meals, but there was way too much of all of it. While starvation is a daily reality for so many, I just learned that worldwide obesity has doubled since 1980. Stunning. So now we’re moving into a more contemplative moment, trying to figure out how to live with all this exuberance while maintaining some semblance of sanity in terms of our salute (health) and diet. The answer? We’ve turned to the elderly here who are still tied to the old ways that gave rise to the much-heralded Mediterranean Diet. Read more

Liquid Gold

The first drops of fresh cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil from our harvest.

The first drops of fresh cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil from our harvest.

It seems that there is more than one way to harvest olives in Italy. Today we spent the morning picking the last olives that will become the 2012 Pascarosa Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and we were tutored by the best. In the process, we learned that our Sunday harvest idyll last week helping friends with their olives was just dabbling. Today’s harvest was the real thing. Read more

We’re Thankful for Olives

Brian learns to use the scuotitore to “shake” those hard-to-reach olives right out of the trees.

Thanksgiving in Martina Franca came and went quickly. Since Americans are pretty thin on the ground here, it was just another day for our Italian friends and neighbors. For us, though, it was a little strange to experience a holiday that no one else is celebrating. The positive aspects? No waiting at the butcher shop to claim our turkey, food vendors were open for business all day long and there was a marked absence of football (the American kind). Okay, maybe that’s not a positive for everyone but it worked for us. We celebrated with Italian and American friends with all the usual Thanksgiving accompaniments, but we drew the line at candied yams and marshmallow fluff. Our minds, though, were firmly focused on the overarching seasonal business at hand here—the olive harvest. Read more

Growing a Business

A centuries-old olive tree in Puglia.

Four months into our nuova storia, we’re knee deep in the business start-up world. Ever since we acquired our olive grove and tasted its olive oil all those years ago, we knew we wanted to find a way to bring it to the U.S. (other than in our suitcases). Now, seventeen years later, we’re launching Pascarosa, an extra virgin olive oil club that furnishes members with four annual deliveries of genuine, organic extra virgin olive oil made only from Italian olives, milled down the road from where they grow. Read more

Brilliant Autumn

An abandoned trullo below blue autumn skies.

An abandoned trullo beneath blue autumn skies.

We can’t help but feel we’re living on borrowed time. We’re told that today’s brilliant blue skies and bright sun aren’t at all normal. We should be shrouded in misty grey punctuated by rain showers at this time of year, hurrying to bring in the olive harvest while navigating muddy fields and slippery roads. Read more

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