The freshness fact that will change the way you choose and use your extra virgin oil [TUSCANY]

November 2019

The arrival of olio nuovo, the new harvest’s pungent drips of freshly pressed olive oil, is celebrated all over Tuscany during November. 

The busy oil mills are open for sales and tastings and several villages host food festivals with oil producer stands and food cooking shows.

Torre Bianca – one of the first producers to put freshly pressed oil on sale at their shop and tasting area. Oil from the previous year is only used for cooking.

There is a good reason for the celebrations: olive oil is perishable, therefore freshness is crucial when it comes to the good oil. And unlike other oils you might keep in your cupboard, extra virgin olive oil is made from the fruit, not the seed. So it is essentially a freshly pressed juice and does not get better with time as the good wines. 

It should preferably be used within a year of its production while it’s still vibrant, even though the expiration date will say two years. And just like Dracula, olive oil is affected by daylight; it should be kept in dark bottles. 

“The colour of the oil is not of importance, that’s why professional oil tasters use blue glass cups,” says oil producer Filippo Alampi. “It’s all about smell and taste.”

Olio nuovo – ready to be bottled. It’s about taste – not colour.

With two 2019 gold awards from the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, the world’s most prestigious contest in the field, Filippo Alampi is one Tuscany’s premium oil producers who are pushing the limits in the production of olive oil, using and developing new technologies to find ways of enhancing and keeping the freshness and taste in their oils. 

During the harvest, Filippo spends every evening at the frantoio where the daytime olive yield is being milled, overseeing and checking every step. From the moment when the olives are crushed till the oil drips out, the olive paste is not in contact with its three enemies; oxygen, light or heat. 

Unloading the fruit at the Fattoria i Bonsi in Tuscany.

In the recent documentary ‘Obsessed with Olive Oil’, the filmmaker Fil Bucchino asks olive oil experts if they remember the first time they tasted premium olive oil. 

They all describe it as an unforgettable moment. A pleasant voyage in taste, where fruitiness (always remember that olive oil is a fruit juice), pungency and bitterness are the key factors. When it’s good and fresh, you can even feel a slight burn in your throat. 

As the oil gets older, that voyage becomes shorter, slower, or simply stops. It is not that the oil necessarily becomes stale, but it loses its powerful punch.

How is the state of the olive oil in your cupboard? Does it take you on a maiden voyage or just once around the park?

One of the local oil producers at the Rassegna dell’olio Extravergine d’oliva – a virgin olive oil fair with local producer stands and cooking shows held every november in Regello, a small town in the Tuscan hillsides south-east of Florence.


Look for the harvest season (“campagna di raccolta” or just “raccolta” in Italian), not the expiration date when shopping. Keep it cool and dark and when first opened – use it very freely



Fattoria Ramerino, Bagno a Ripoli (11 km from Florence)

Torre Bianca, San Casciano in Val di Pesa (30 km south of Florence)

Pruneti, San Polo in Chianti (20 km south of Florence)

Obsessed with olive oil – an award-winning documentary from 2019.

Thanks to Sandro and Fabio for introducing me to the fascinating world of olive oil.