Anne's Blog

Umbria’s Olive Oil: “Green Gold” with a Dash of Rural Lore

Date: July 26, 2016 - categories: , , - 2 Comments

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.


Not just olive oil tastes with Peppa and Gentile and daughter, Paola





Paola shows us how the scalding shovel handle would be dipped in olive oil


Pam takes notes on all the olive oil lore

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.


Paola adds a pinch of salt to the bruschetta


..and a generous amount of their 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.


..and of course, we had to visit Peppa!




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.


Ah, pinzimonio!



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.


Pam loves that broom (made of broom)!

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.


….and what a rural feast with Chiarina and 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:
Read about a revered rural rite as shared with Peppe, Gentile, and Peppa:
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:
Read about Chiarina and Marino – and the use of broom:

For news on olive oil:’
Read about “delectable Deruta” and feasting with Giuseppa


  • Pamela Butler says:

    Thank you again for a memorable two days in Assisi and Spello. The information I gathered during those days with you and the locals provided the material for my research paper for my class at Umbra Institute. I look forward to spending more time with you on my next visit to Italy.
    Gratzie Mille

  • So glad we connected…over olive oil!
    Let’s do it again soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)