Walking into the Tasting Room of the olive mill where Maurizio’s family has gone for four generations to press their olives on the Frantoi Aperti weekend in early November is always exciting: jovial crowds of locals, log fire toasting of bruschette, buffets with an array of Petesse’s very own organically cultivated and in-season specialties…all doused generously…and proudly… with the newly harvested and just-pressed extra virgin olive oil. Chick peas, spelt risotto, lentils, spelt and tomato salad, sliced fennel bulbs, sliced oranges…and platter after platter of bruschette being turned out from the fire every three or four minutes: loaf after loaf of wood-burning oven baked bread was sliced by Maria (slicing the loaf against her chest/heart, the typical Umbrian way of slicing a crusty loaf of bread) and toasted by Elisa.
As hard as I tried I was unable to get a photo of the platter WITH the many slices: they disappeared just as fast as they were put on the platters!
Long common tables were set up with paper tablecloths where visitors sat down with others after serving themselves (or being served by Giuseppina and Olivia) at the buffet. Huge jugs of local wine made their way through the crowds, keeping the glasses full to the brim. Old-timers passionately debated olive oil issues, agreeing…and often disagreeing as they enjoyed the food and wine. I loved watching the young children eat as normal foods these healthy “real” foods: chick peas, lentils and farro…staples of Umbrian fall and winter meals.
the inviting buffets of local specialties – all showcasing the newly pressed extra virgin olive oil
enjoying, to the left, tiny Umbrian lentils and, above, delicious farro risotto and farro salad
olives ready for harvest