Toscano (Tuscan olive oil)

From Cookipedia


IGP Toscano is an Italian extra virgin olive oil with the following minimum chemical and organoleptic characteristics:

- max. acidity 0.6%

- peroxide number <=16.00 Meg 02/kg

- colour from green to golden yellow, varying with time

- fruity smell with an aroma of almonds, artichokes, ripe fruit, green leaves

- marked fruity flavour

- minimum score at the panel test >= 6,5.

Other chemico-physical parameters complying with current EU standards.

Geographical area: The production area of the "Toscano" designation comprises the entire administrative territory of the region of Tuscany.

Evidence of origin: Olive-growing in Tuscany dates back a long time and has been attested since the mid-seventh century B.C.: there are also records of olive-growing in Etruscan and Roman times. In those days oil was produced not for food but for preparing ointments and cosmetics and also for lighting. During the Roman period it began to be used more widely for food purposes. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the vast organization of agricultural production and marketing disappeared and very few olives were grown.

In the Middle Ages it was mainly the convents that looked after the large olive groves, before the communes began to show an interest in them. While Genoa and Venice fought for control of the oil trade, Florence, having no ports, managed the production and marketing of olive oil on the basis of strict rules. The oil trade soon acquired great economic importance: indispensable for food and soap production, by 1300 olive oil had become an extremely valuable economic and political instrument. In Tuscany the Medici encouraged olive growing, paving the way for what is today still one of the main resources of the region: they encouraged the transfer of hillside woodland to the communes, requiring that it be, sold at minimum prices to anyone who turned it into olive groves and vineyards. That is what shaped the Tuscan landscape.

Acquisition: "Toscano" extra virgin olive oil is produced from whole olives harvested by a date fixed in advance by the region of Tuscany, i.e., by 30 January each year. The maximum olive production per heictare is set every year by the Regione Toscana on the basis of annual surveys. The olives are harvested directly from the plant. The oil may only be extracted by mechanical processes that preserve the specific and original characteristics of the fruit.

Link: It was realised very long ago that the production and marketing of olive oil in Tuscany had to be regulated. The first legislative document, the "statuto degli Oliandoli" (statute of oil retailers) dates from 1318 and is made up of 86 articles dealing with this trade in general. This document aimed to define and protect olive oil production and to regulate the activities of the retailers of the "distretto" or district of Florence, which at that time comprised much of the regional territory. Oil retailers could in fact only ply their trade if they were entered in the appropriate register. In the late 1500s, thanks to the policy of the Medici, olive growing expanded. In 1600 the large estates were split up into share tenancies, which led to the further development of olive growing, and by 1700 it played a predominant role in the agricultural economy.

Over the last few centuries olivegrowing has acquired major economic and environmental importance in Tuscany, while also shaping the wonderful Tuscan landscape. The high reputation for quality enjoyed by Tuscan olive oil has spread throughout the world. In 1982 the Consorzio regionale dell'olio toscano (CROEVOTT) was set up to promote and protect extra virgin olive oil produced in Tuscany.

Reference: The European Commission

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