A Revolution in Oil

The Antinori family does not need introductions: their name is synonym with an absolutely unique wine. From some time, however, the youngest daughter of Pietro Antinori, Alessia, together with business partner Martini Bernardi, has dedicated herself to olive oil and in a decisively innovative manner. From this the oil “Novizio” (Novice) had been born. The thinking is truly revolutionary: to bring together the new just pressed oil, with all its fragrances and odors and its unmistakable taste, and the early produce of spring and summer. The picking of olives and the pressing usually occurs in the autumn-beginning of winter. New oil, its “sharp” taste is gone by the time summer comes along with its good ripe tomatoes and other vegetables. The oil has gone through a change and a part of its original fragrance has been lost. The “Vivo Srl,” the company created by Alessia, has thought of and patented a method to resolve this inconvenience: to freeze the oil just pressed and render it intact after months and months.
“The effect is psychologically shocking,” Alessia Antinori tells us, “Many people tie a product to a moment, to a seasonal context; when this balance is broken, the perception changes and the result is absolutely incredible.”
In this case, the freezing is not used with the objective of making the product easier and quicker to consume, but to maintain unchanged the original characteristics.

The procedure to obtain all this is simple and is just the end point of a series of tricks that begin from the maintenance of the olive trees until the pressing. The olives are picked in Puglia, in the south of Italy, and transported quickly (maximum one day) to Calenzano, to the Sommaia Farm where the olive press is located (“The oil has its origins in Puglia but its mentality is Tuscan!” says Alessia).

The olives are pressed with a continuos method and are bottled immediately in 250 or 300ml bottles (soon also in bottles of 100ml). The bottles, on a conveyer belt, pass under a stream of carbon dioxide (CO2) at a temperature of -80° so that by the end of the freezing process the inside of the bottle is at –18°, the final temperature it will maintain. The oil thus frozen is boxed and places in a warehouse, from where it will be distributed to top gastronomes and restaurants in the world.

Just as simple is the defrosting: given that oil freezes at +6° it reacquires its fluidity in two to three hours at room temperature. The oil should be used within 15 to 20 days from then, after which time the oil will naturally start its process of decline and will lose the fresh taste and aroma which the process had up to then maintained unaltered.

A piece of advice is to try the bottle of 100ml. The small size will permit you to defrost and enjoy the oil without having leftover oil.


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