Thursday, October 25, 2012


Celebrating the Italian olive picking & pressing season

Olio Nuovo, new oil!  Ooooh, just the sound of these two little words brings music to my ears!  Today in our garden, Salvatore and our olive oil pickers are busy reaping the harvest.  Large green nets are spread under trees like catch nets under a circus trapeze...tied to branches, fences and whatever they can hold on to, while sun tanned farmers with worn leather-like hands pick vigorously by hand.  With a small hand-held rake, the farmers gently sweep off the olives from the branches, being careful not to bruise them.  They fall to the net and then are wrapped up, bagged and carried to the frantoio, the press. 


The olive fruits, that were only small pearl sized in May, have now grown full size and are ready for pressing.  And all in a days work!  Yes, the picking, cold pressing happens quite fast so the olives don't lose their fresh flavor!   

Poured into glass green bottles to keep it away from light, the Olio Nuovo  is made with Leccino, Curatora, Frantonoio & Coratina olives.  These varieties give an excellent, high quality and low acidity of 0.25%;  which qualifies it to be extra virgin.  Our olives are grown on a small olive oil orchard, tenderly cared for by our farmers and picked just at the right time.  Grassy and with a hint of almond give this olive oil a clean taste.  Celebrate the season with Olio Nuovo, drizzled on bruschetta, risotto, pasta, fish or meat!  A good olive oil not only tastes good, it is imperative in the healthy Mediterranean diet.

Check out our lemon olive oil, made with Amalfi Coast lemons, and hot red chili pepper too at Marketplace Page.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DIY: Drying Italian Herbs & Spices

Our chefs know just how important it is to have fresh herbs and spices on hand to bring out the best in their seasonal foods. Now with summer over our shoulder and the gifts from the garden winding down, we're in full preparation for the winter months ahead. In Positano we're busy keeping the flavors of summer by naturally drying our organic garden herbs and chili peppers!

We naturally grow high quality basil (basilico), parsely (prezzemolo) marjoram (maggiorano), oregano (origano), rosemary (rosmarino), sage (salvia), thyme (timo) red chili peppers (peperoncini) which can all be dried either by air or oven.

Air-drying: Choose a dark, airy place. Attics and sheds are ideal, but a dark breezy room will work fine. Tie the stems of the chili peppers or a loose bunch of cut herbs with twine or thick string. Hang the branches upside down by the string. After a few weeks the leaves should be completely dry, rub them off the stems and store in clean, glass jars away from direct light.

Another alternative is to pick off the leaves and leave them to dry on clean, dry racks allowing air to circulate. Drying on racks is best for large-leaved herbs such as sweet basil or bay leaves.

Oven drying: Start by setting oven on low heat, 150° F or lower. On a metal rack or screen, layer fresh herbs and leave in oven for 20 - 30 minutes or until dry.

When herbs are crisp, remove the leaves from the stems and crumble them into clean, glass jars.

Or leave the harvest to us, and visit our Marketplace page, where a full line of spices and olive oils are available. The natural herbs and spices are simple to use, healthy, and compliment any pasta, sauce, soup, toasted bread, fish or meat recipe.

You still have time to sign-up and win Cooking Vacations Italian Kitchen basket giveaway that includes a complete Italian market filled with the perfecto foods for your home kitchen!!!