In the last few weeks I’ve been involved in teaching local children all about the world of olive oil, from picking, pressing to storing and eating the stuff. Most of the time my face has ached, the fee paid for smiling so much.
Who would have guessed that children’s beach toys would lend themselves so well to little ones gathering olives? Or how large their eyes would become at all the noise in a modern olive mill? Or how fast they can learn the words to poems and songs about olive oil, the ones that their teachers hope will re-enforce the love of olive oil and bread as a snack, versus those proposed by the onslaught of modern and deep-pocketed marketing departments of everyday life.
The early mornings have been worth it too- up at 5 every day- as it’s exactly why our school is different: it’s far too easy to be the pretty model laying on the sports car, taking all the credit for it, when really she’s done nothing. To really influence, to re-enforce, to nurture our local food culture, this is something that sets us apart. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, however achingly early that is.
Announcing our 2016 Olive You course.
A pair of knee-high rubber boots will be waiting for your arrival here in Italy.
Yes, it’s that kind of course.
For the last 13 years we’ve been talking with students from 46 different countries about Extra Virgin olive oil and it’s nothing if not alarming how much misinformation is still out there (So big the problem, that many of our students still insist that they are buying Italian extra virgin in foreign supermarkets. Or that you shouldn’t cook with the stuff, or that the best comes from Tuscany, etc., none of which is actually true).
So once a year we offer our dream course, a week dedicated to understanding all aspects of one of the world’s greatest foods. Yes, we’ll pick olives- thus the boots (part of the booking process involves giving us your European shoe size, to have your rubber boots waiting for you). But we’ll also learn to critically taste, removing any chance of future swindles. We’ll cook with the stuff, eating dinner in its soft, warm oil lamp candle light and even entering our oil in European competitions.
Each of you will take 5 litres home, on us, and more, as much as you’d like, providing your year’s supply. And a masseuse will be on hand as well, offering olive oil massages, for anyone sore from exhaustive eating, drinking and laughing.
This year is the first year we’re bottling our own extra virgin as a school, working closely with Jolanda, our partner on the course, and one of Southern Italy’s best producers of high quality Extra Virgin. She’ll quickly become one of your favourite people as well.
And as always, we’d love to hear from you, even if it’s just to say ‘hello’.