In part 1 of the Olive Oil Buyer’s Guide, we took a look at the anatomy of a great label on a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. For a refresher, take a look the detailed and revealing look at Primo DOP from Frantoi Cutrera in Sicily.


In this update, we’ll take a look at the symbols of Organic Certification. And, let’s talk terminology: Biologica is the Italian term for Organic. On labels, this is sometimes shortened to Bio.

There has long been significant cooperation on Organic standards between the U.S. and the European Union (EU). For years, agencies in Europe have been certified to meet US Department of Agriculture standards, and the olive oils imported to the US were able to use the USDA Organic seal on their labels.

We’re now at the cusp of a transition in labeling and a new agreement features a freshly designed symbol for EU Organic products. As a result of the trade agreement, both the EU Organic seal and the USDA Organic seal may be used. For products imported to the US, either seal represents that the product meets the organic standards in the US.  We’ve already noticed early arrivals of Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil carrying this attractive new leaf symbol.

Organic certification can be costly and some smaller olive oil producers will continue to elect to grow their olives organically, without adding the costs of certification. Within the product descriptions at Olio2go, those are noted as “organically produced”.

While we have many biologica/organic olive oils on our web site at OLIO2GO, we think that the labels on Titone, Trampetti, and Volpaia do a great job of illustrating the application of the seals. Titone’s neck label clearly shows the DOP and USDA Organic symbols, Trampetti carries the leaf on the front label, while Volpaia’s label includes the EU leaf on the back of the bottle.

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Tuscan Selections including Profumo del Chianti

Tuscan Selections including Profumo del Chianti

A Month in Medieval Volpaia Tuscany is a charming brief memoir.  Robert  and Patricia Crosby capture their full weeks in September and October. These are the slower days of late summer and early fall, after the tourists have left. Robert and Patricia provide a series of diary entries of their day to day visits to trattorias, town squares, and churches.  Each day is a peaceful adventure, full of love for their friends and experiences. 

Take a walk with the authors through their day to day experiences, along with visits to our favorite places, the olive oil estates of Volpaia and Badia a Coltibuono.  Another favorite stop is a visit to Panzano, the home of Dario Cecchini, the Dante-quoting master butcher of Chianti. (We’ve written about him before).

A Month in Medieval Volpaia is a quick read, and a perfect gift with a selection of Badia a Coltibuono, Albereto, Campo Corto, or Volpaia.

We found this book to be well produced, and charming, but occasionally repetitive.  It is perfectly written for those of us who dream of having such a month to spend in the Chianti Classico.

Pamela Marasco demonstrates her love for all of her acquired Italian heritage in her self- published family treasury, Seeing and Savoring Italy. This will be read by her family and others for generations.

She married into an Italian American family and grew close to her husband’s grandmother. Through the years this granddaughter-in-law sought to capture and recreate memories and heritage through food customs.  From olive oil, to cheese, to wine, to chocolate, Pamela is to be commended for trying to get it all into one book.

Recipes are interwoven through the chapters as she visits Tenuta di Capezzana, Avignonesi, and other places dear to us at Olio2go. Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Olives all’ascolano, and risotto, fill the pages between Sagra (festivals), wine, mostarde, and tartufi (truffles).

Well-researched and endearingly written, future editions will be improved with one more pass through an editor and graphic designer.

If you can find a copy of The Tuscan Year, now out of print, you’ll enjoy a very pleasant and well written year in Tuscany.  It fits nicely with A Month in Medieval Volpaia and Seeing and Savoring Italy.

You can see The Tuscan Year and Seeing and Savoring Italy on Our Favorite Books That We Don’t Carry on Amazon.