Umbria’s Olive Oil: “Green Gold” with a Dash of Rural Lore
Pam was doing a project on olive oil for her study program in Perugia – and no better way to learn about olive oil – and olive oil lore!- than with visits to our farm friends in the Assisi hills.
At Peppe and Gentile’s, impossible to get away with just olive oil tastes: we had to try Peppe’s vino and his prosciutto And daughter, Paola, demonstrated olive oil use in healing sore throats in rural lore. When her parents as children had sore throats, their mamma would rub the throats with olive oil after dipping a scalding cast iron rod (the handle of a fireplace shovel would do), heated to white-hot in the fireplace, into the oil three times. With mamma Gentile looking on, Paola held out for us the cast-iron fireplace shovel, smiling as she remembered her childhood on the farm.
Then she added with a grin, “but the best use of olive oil is on bruschetta,” rubbing a garlic clove on the toasted bread, sprinkling it with salt, then drizzling generously the family olive oil.
On to Peppa’s for more rural lore, a taste of her wine and to admire her first zucchini right from her garden.
Next, to our farmhouse to make a pinzimonio (dipping sauce for fresh vegetables) with our olive oil. Pam and her friend Jenny, joined me in making a farro/legume salad, too, seasoned with olive oil and lemon juice, finely-diced mint from the garden as a finishing touch.
Making the farro/legumes salad:
And then…. on to farm friends, Marino and Chiarina, for dinner, but a stop first to see their outdoor wood oven where Chiarina bakes bread and roasts geese, ducks, chickens and other meats. They had to see that broom, too, next to the woodpile flanking the wood oven. Made by Marino of wild broom at the end of summer (when the plant’s yellow blooms have fallen), he or Chiarina uses it to sweep out the ashes of the wood-oven before sliding in breads or meats.
And we tried those wood-oven roasted fowl at dinner with them that evening. But after the tasty antipasto and Chiarinia’s homemade pasta. And of course, a taste of their olive oil drizzled on bruschetta, solemnly by Marino.
Thanks, Pam, for your note to me after our “olive oil adventures”: “A day with you is the best ever. I would never have met the locals except through you. A superb day!”
Meet our farm friends, givers of the greatest gifts
Read about how to make pinzimonio here
Read more on Peppe and Gentile: http://www.annesitaly.com/blog/peppe-gentile-and-the-new-wine/
Read about a revered rural rite as shared with Peppe, Gentile, and Peppa: http://www.annesitaly.com/blog/revered-rural-rite-la-veglia/
See Peppa here with one of her recipes..
Read how Peppa takes off the evil eye, using olive oil!
Click here to read about Peppa and her wine
Click to read more about Chiarina and Marino: http://www.annesitaly.com/blog/rural-life-richness/
Read about Chiarina and Marino – and the use of broom: http://www.annesitaly.com/blog/flowering-broom-brings-back-memories/
For news on olive oil:
Read about “delectable Deruta” and feasting with Giuseppa