Extra virgin olive oil has been been considered for long a great product although limited as a dressing ingredient for salads or vegetable recipes in most mediterranean dishes, as it improves taste and flavor of them.
As a matter of fact, olive oil is the best cooking fat since it has a high melting point and doesn't create toxic matter when used to prepare high temperature processed foods and the tuscans have known this for ages. Many Tuscan recipes make use of extra virgin olive oil for deep frying like artichokes, zucchini, chicken, rabbit, squids, cod, frittelle and many more.
Extra virgin olive oil, in order to reveal its best quality in terms of organoleptic properties, flavor and taste needs to come from a strict process where the olives, picked at the right ripening time, have to be cold pressed (below 27 ° C) within a few hours from picking. The oil extracted will then have to be sealed immediately and stored in a dark cool place.
Following these guidelines as stated in the tuscan D.O.P. regulation, the product that comes out keeps a low acidity, which means more palatable to taste, fresh flavor and aroma, retaining antioxidants and vitamin E.
In Tuscany the olive tree presence dates back a few centuries B.C. and the use of olive oil has spanned from curative and therapeutic purposes to food preservant and ingredient.
Nowadays the high quality degree of extra virgin olive oil is so appreciated that the tourism industry highlights the best producers. Olive oil tasting tours in Tuscany are held in traditional expert farms, where, a guided tour of the olive groves, the milling room, and, most of the times, in a proper tasting room, a sampling evaluation of quality, flavor, color of the variety of extra virgin olive oil locally produced, provide a fun experience and a starting point to get acquainted to the olive oil culture and its world.