The area of Chianti has been for centuries a place of important culinary excellences. Because Chianti is not only a synonymous of wine, but also of a great PDO olive oil, the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Chianti Classico PDO, made from the many olive groves that dot the romantic hills of Tuscany.
History and curiosities
The great Dante Alighieri makes Pier Damiani mention, in the XXI canto of “Paradiso”, the “liquor d’ulivo” that was produced in his Tuscany. And it is since the age of Dante that Tuscan olive tree and olive oil reached an incredible diffusion, for a product that still today is linked to local traditions and culture.
The production of the olive oil in Chianti is attested since 1300, at the end of the Middle Age, when large forests were abated to make space to vines and olive trees. Since then, the olive tree has characterized the Tuscan landscape and has contributed to the success of regional gastronomy, from the poorest dishes to the sophisticated recipes.
Production and Regulation
The Extra Virgin Olive Oil Chianti DOP is obtained from 4 olive cultivars: Frantoio, Leccino, Moraiolo and Correggiolo, with a maximum of the 20% of other varieties. Frantoio produces a fruity and slightly spicy oil, while Leccino is sweeter and aromatic, Moraiolo slightly bitter and Correggiolo delicate and with fruity notes.
The olive trees from which it is obtained Chianti grow on calcareous and clayish soils, mostly hilly but also over 600 meters above sea level, depending on the areas of production.
The severe Regulation, introduced with the Protected Designation of Origin in 1999, specifies areas and productive modalities, indicating all the districts in the provinces of Siena and Firenze in which you can produce the Chianti Oil.
The harvest of olives is made by hand in October, before maturation is complete and until December 31. Olives are transformed within 24 hours in the mills to avoid oxidation, producing an oil with a low acidity, an elevated amount of oleic acid and phenolic antioxidants, with values exceeding 150 ppm.
The Consorzio Olio DOP Chianti Classico, with its about 250 members, protects all the aspects linked to the production of this precious Tuscan oil, in addition to the respect of its Regulation.
Taste and characteristics
Chianti Classico DOP is a greenish oil with golden reflections, fruity and herbal scent, savory taste, notes of citrus, with an intense (but never excessive) spiciness and notes of artichokes, cardoons and pine nuts. The high amount of oleic acid exalts its therapeutic properties, making it a powerful ally (used without cooking it) against bad cholesterol and a stimulant for the bilious functionality.
100 grams of Chianti oils have 900 kcal and 100 grams in fat, and a relevant amount in vitamin E and polyphenols, with their powerful antioxidant properties.
Unlike the other varieties made in Italy, the acidity of Chianti DOP oil is less than 0,5%, respecting the rules.
It is possible to find in commerce also an aromatized Chianti oil, for example with rosemary, lemon, black pepper or other varieties. Tasteful and particular are paté and marinated vegetables that use this precious EVO oil for a more intense aromatic note.
We suggest to conserve oil in its original bottle, far from light and at middle temperature (between 12 and 20°C), finishing it within 1 year and a half from the bottling.
Chianti DOP EVO oil can be tasted simply with some bread, to appreciate all its aromatic notes, even with the traditional “silly bread” without salt, typical of Tuscany. Chianti DOP is the oil par excellence to add raw in tasteful soups of the regional cuisine, and also in crudités, toasts, first dishes, grilled vegetables and tartare. Interesting the combination with Mozzarella di Bufala and Basilico Genovese for a mix of Italian excellences.
Chianti DOP gives its best with some regional recipes, as “ribollita”, “papa al pomodoro” or soups with black cabbage, where oil must be added raw to taste its entire aroma.
The event “Chianti d’Autunno” takes place in many areas during the entire autumn and consents to appreciate all the regional excellences, for example Olio Chianti DOP, combining degustation to visits to mills and olive groves.