Nature really goes over the top in this month in Tuscany.

For the preceding weeks oil is on the minds of every Tuscan. We are in the centre of one of the best Extra Virgin Olive Oil producing areas in Tuscany. Reggello, our local market town is a classified ‘Città dell’Olio’. With the hand harvest underway and stray olives falling on roads and squished by passing cars, there is a tantalizing peppery aroma in the air.

Every Tuscan food lover waits with anticipation the taste of the first pressed oil with bruschetta (toasted bread) or fagioli beans. It seems that just about everyone is out picking olives in free time. Seeing the liquid green gold running out of the mills is a thrill every time.

Tuscans only cook with olive oil. Being an ex-butter-Brit I now say that if forced to choose I would go without wine but not olive oil. And that’s saying something. In our cooking workshops we use only extra virgin olive oil. Flavours change depending on the territory and on the mix of olives and we will explore this difference while we are cooking.

The new season’s olive oil comes right on top of the grape harvest and the chestnut harvest and as if that wasn’t enough, it is also the moment for the most prized white Truffles.

Musts in this packed workshop are to fit in a TRUFFLE HUNT with truffle dogs, a visit to an olive oil producer and mill while olives are being pressed, the 1000 year old watermill where chestnuts from the surrounding hills are stone ground into the prized fine chestnut flour, and a visit to a fifth generation wine producer of international reputation.

This workshop also falls when we have the last of our two-only special opportunities to visit our favourite Tuscan saffron grower during the harvest.

At home we will prepare supper with these fresh new ingredients – saffron, truffles and extra virgin olive oil, and then most probably collapse infront of a cosy log fire and maybe toast a few sweet chestnuts to munch with grappa.

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