Learning from the Italians, part II
While re-visiting old posts, I particularly enjoyed this one.
It’s been five years since I published that post, and I’m still learning from the Italians. The photo you see here is entitled: “Tasting with Italian children at BIOL competition in Puglia and learning from them. March 2014”
Five years ago, I was in the very beginning of my career as an olive oil taster. Even when I already had years of experience in California, it was only after I took an EU official class in Sardinia and developed a relationship with the great expert Pierpaolo Arca, that I started a more indepth path, not only with tasting but with olive oil making and olive oil in general.
In all these years I witnessed my teachers, colleagues and friends from Italy never satisfied with their level of knowledge or expertise. Even when many of them were already considered among the leading experts in the world, what I saw was actually the opposite of contentment. They’ve been constantly exploring and experimenting with new machinery, technology and ideas. This would be counterintuitive in the current dominant culture defined by profitability, since Italy has been and is in a serious crisis all this time. And yet, these Italians friends have not responded to that by downsizing or playing safe to minimize costs and maximize profit. There’s something else.
In one of my visits, I saw Giorgio Mori from Oliomio, asking a Californian producer: “Do you know what you need to take from Tuscany with you?” There was a brief moment of silence in which I expected Giorgio to give advice on the most necessary piece of equipment to improve this Californian colleague’s mill.
“Enthusiasm,” he said.
It’s this enthusiasm that springs forth from a unique love for their land, for crafting a product able to carry goodness, for the way food is shared, from the happiness of learning something new every day, that I keep admiring and that makes it so natural to keep learning from these people.
I’ll be always grateful for these teachers and friends since it’s mainly from their influence and teachings that I was able to be a part of—every season since then—making very good, sometimes excellent EVOO for Pacific Sun Farms.
It’s also thanks to the support I received from the Flynn family, who generously allowed for this quality approach which comes at an expense, for quantity is not, by far, the first priority.
Hoping you did find a bit of all that in our olive oils and olives,
PS: Talking about Italians and learning from them, two old friends of mine, Perla and Stefano Landini, are organizing wonderful culinary trips to Italy. “Tour With Us” creates itineraries focused on authentic Italian food made from fresh ingredients, and highlighting the diversity of local cuisines and the Slow Food Movement. Their tours offer hands-on cooking classes, cheese and chocolate making workshops, and include time for sightseeing, shopping, wine and olive oil tastings, and relaxation.
We highly recommend them!
Here’s the link: www.tour-withus.com