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It took us too many years to read Bill Buford’s Heat. We’re not huge fans of the Food Network shows, so reading about a chef, just because he’s on TV, isn’t quite to our liking. What incited this reading of Heat? The references to Dario Cecchini (of Macellaria Cecchini) and Italian culture. Dario is the famed Dante-quoting butcher of Tuscany — a larger-than-life character in the Chianti. You can visit him in Panzano, but read the book first!

On page 147, there’s this amusing look at the eaters in the food regions of Italy: “…a northerner was called a “polenta eater,” mangiapolenta, just as a Tuscan is a bean eater, and a Napoletano is a macaroni eater, the belief in Italy being not that you are what you eat but that you are the starch”.

On page 216, Dario Cecchini was introduced:  “So I told her about Dario Cecchini: He, I’d become convinced was the person I should work for.  He didn’t know me, and I had no idea if he’d take me on.”  Buford’s story then intertwines connections with Mario Batali, Mario’s father, Armandino, and “food writer Faith Willinger [who] had  discovered fennel pollen at Dario’s, the stuff she secreted in luggage and smuggled across the Atlantic…”

While Bill spends most of his time with Dario learning to cut meat, his take on Profumo del Chianti is revealed: “The next day we prepared salt. We took bags of it, mixed with dried herbs, and put it though a grinder to make a herbal concoction called Profumo del Chianti. The result was indeed aromatic and evocative of summer camp when I was eight, having been finely pulverized, was fluffy and snow-like. For the next six hours, five of us poured fluffy salt….Hadn’t machines been invented to do this sort of thing?”  (p.226).

Grab a copy of Heat and enjoy Bill Buford’s inside look … especially his time with Dario Cecchini. And, when you’re ready, go to olio2go.com for your own Profumo del Chianti.

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Olio2go at Festa Italiana in DC on October 9. We had great fun sampling and tasting with festival guests. JoAnna is shown in these pictures. She helped out at the event and enjoyed speaking to the guests in Italian! We were very busy at the booth and served over 600 olive oil tastes!

Sampled at the show:

Santisi Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Sicily)

Rosselli del Turco Extra Virgin Olive Oil DOP Chianti Classico (Tuscany)

Trappeto di Caprafico Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, DOP Colline Teatine (Abruzzo)

and the little gem, Livio Pesle Balsamic Vinegar Wine Jelly (Fruili Venezia Giulia)

Dario Cecchini's Perfect Seasoning SaltWe love our customers and this is a special shout out to Kevin who gave us the great idea to import Profumo del Chianti for our customers. This is a remarkable steak salt crafted by a master of Tuscan steaks. This salt comes with a story, just like so many of the artisanal products we carry.

Dario Cecchini has built a cadre of small businesses in Panzano, located on the Chianti road between Florence and Siena. The story begins with Antica Macelleria Cecchini (the famous butcher shop), and his steak journey continues with “Mac Dario” (for burgers!),  the upper-end Officina della Bistecca, and SoloCiccia (featuring unusual cuts of grass-fed beef).

Dario Cecchini is referred to as a Dante-quoting butcher in Panzano, Tuscany, and there have been several articles on Dario in the past few years. A treasure trove of videos can be found on YouTube, and a sampling of articles can be found through these links:

Gourmet Magazine (plan your trip now!)

Travel+Leisure

The New Yorker (a great story!)

FoodWoolf.com

Zester Daily

Italian Food Forever

Bytes of Italy

The Pink Peppercorn Blog

Concierge.com

And, if you’d like to read up on Dario Cecchini and practice your Italian, then you’d best visit his blog. Feeling adventurous? Try this Inside Tuscany Tour with Il Chiostro.

The Olive Oil Times has published an outstanding article on the Tuscan estate, Castello del Trebbio, and the family of Anna Baj Macario. There’s even a discussion of the new oil, which, by the way, is already on the way to us. This article reveals the estate’s role in Italian history (think: de Medici), the production of great olive oil, and thoughts on quality (and adulteration). If you are planning a trip to Tuscany, a visit to the estate should be on your must-do list.

While we have just a few bottles of Castello del Trebbio 2009 remaining, there’s a ship crossing the Atlantic with 2010 Raccolto on board. Of course, we’ll send an email when it is available, but if you’d like personal, early notice just send us an email.

Rosselli del Turco, DOP Chianti Classico

This peppery oil, with bitter elements, made him cough! With joy, we hope!

We first heard of Scordo’s Pasta Challenge and we just had to send pasta for his master list! He’s also had the opportunity to enjoy La Poderina Toscana IGP, Rosselli del Turco DOP Chianti Classico, and Canonica Verde’s Umbrian Spice Blend. Click here for his review of those Olio2go products.  Read his blog for the best in Italian food and traditions across the Atlantic.

Courtesy of the Former Chef blog

Fresh and crunchy with Fonterutoli

You’ll find terrific recipes at the Former Chef blog, and she recently created a beautiful salad with Zucchini, Arugula, and…..the Fonterutoli we sent from Olio2go for her to sample.

Add this to your summer repertoire — perfect for an al fresco dinner.

To add Mazzei’s Fonterutoli extra virgin olive oil, DOP Chianti Classico, to your cart, start here.

Los Angeles Olive Oil Competition

Los Angeles Olive Oil Competition

Early word from the 2010 Los Angeles International Olive Oil Awards is that Olio de la Marchia Ascolana has been awarded Best in Class

At Olio2go, we have 10 selections from the notable list of winners — all ready to ship from our warehouse.  The Awards Page can be found here. The best way to see Olio2go’s Los Angeles Awards Selections is to click here.Liguria

Vittorio Cassini Classico, BRONZE MEDAL, Delicate

Marche

Olio de la Marchia, Ascolana, BEST OF CLASS, GOLD MEDAL, Medium

Olio del Carmine, Az. Del Carmine, BRONZE MEDAL, Delicate

Tuscany

Fonterutoli DOP Chianti Classico, Mazzei, SILVER MEDAL, Medium Fruity

Villa Magra Gran Cru, Frantoio Franci, GOLD MEDAL, Robust

Toscano IGP, Frantoio Franci, SILVER MEDAL, Medium

Sicily

Titone Biologica, DOP Valli Trapanesi, SILVER MEDAL, Delicate ** (Not sure what happened here. We would never call this delicate!)

Villa Zottopera, Monti Iblei, GOLD MEDAL Medium

Zisola DOP Monti Iblei, Mazzei, BRONZE MEDAL, Medium