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Interview to: Azienda Agricola Guardiani Farchione

Q1)Do you tell us the peculiarities of your extravergin olive oil (EVOO) and its link to your olive growing territory?
The extravergin olive oil of our family-run Guardiani Farchione estate is obtained from olives of Toccolana cultivar, a native variety of the municipality of  Tocco Da Casauria, a small hillside town on the skirts of the mountain ranges of Majella, at 360 m above sea level, particularly suited to the olive cultivation.
Centuries-old olive trees for the most part in our olive groves, in 1990 this cultivar was recognized as a one of the varieties under the PDO Aprutino Pescarese. The olive growing area Tocco da Casauria is, furthermore, among the top four sites to have passed the first step towards the recognition of the olive growing heritage in the context of the historic and rural landscapes accredited by Mipaaf.
The Toccolana variety shows a beautiful golden yellow color, with light green hues, reflecting in the tasting cup an intense and lusting shade. It offers harmonious rich notes of wild herbs, artichoke  accompanied by the aftertaste of almond flavour to the mouth. Bitterness and pungency is definite and balanced. We consider it suitable for every dish.

Q2) How was used olive oil and table olives in the daily kitchen in your childhood? Do you remember any your favourite traditional recipes based on olive oil and its derivatives?
Since my early childhood the EVOO was the main seasoning item for my diet. In all dishes of our Abruzzo culinary tradition, both raw and cooked, olive oil has always acted an important role as an indispensable ingredient. The recipes based on olive oil are numerous and range from the most simple to the most refined. I appreciate also the consumption of the table olives which are ideal for enhancing either meat or fish, without saying its simple use for an aperitif. One of the varieties destined to the table olives in our olive growing area is the Intosso cultivar, preserved with water, salt and soda, ideal for a quick drink or to exalt a pasta with tuna. Another tasty recipe is the dried black olives preserved in salt, with the zest of orange, indicated to enhance a baked sea bass seasoned with EVOO, garlic, cherry tomatoes and potatoes.

Q3) Do you think that the high quality restaurant sector could be fundamental for creating the synergy with the producers of excellent EVOO?
The restaurant sector is fundamental for the dissemination and promotion of the EVOO, but I consider that there is, unfortunately, much more to know about the EVOO for the culinary field and the EVOO world is to be discovered.
Few chefs who know, appreciate and enhance the quality EVOOs, use different oils in combination with different dishes. To my regret is that the choice of the cooking oil still depends on the price, nonetheless Italy boasts a heritage of more than 600 olive cultivars destined to the extraction of the olive oil, which I believe to be the ruler of all the seasonings, and there are unlimited opportunities to know them, through specialized olive oil tasting courses, for example. It’s indeed very interesting to know and understand organoleptic characteristics and peculiarities of  different olive cultivars. It is, above all, more important to learn to distinguish, through sensory analysis, a quality oil from a defective one.  
Although there are opportunities to approach this wonderful unknown world, it lacks the knowledge on the olive oil intended as a healthy food that, besides bringing beneficial properties and antioxidants in our body, contributes to enhance and improve the dishes in our daily cuisine.

Q4) Do you have any suggestions and/ or ideas to offer consumers the occasion to discover this precious product rich in culture, story and pleasure: oleo-tourism, EVOO tasting sessions in particular locations, collaboration with the specific eno-gastronomy sectors/ protagonists, for example?
I believe that it is important to involve consumers in guided tours in the olive groves, explaining them its history, culture, tradition and that each secular olive tree has its own very ancient origins and roots, with the objective to stimulate their interest on the EVOO and bring them closer to the world of EVOO.
We must stir the passion of the consumer through olive oil tasting and sensory evaluation sessions to learn how to distinguish an olive oil that possesses positive organoleptic characteristics from that has negative attributes.
Since the era of Ancient Rome the emperors had made a distinction between the " maturum" olive oil of poor quality and the " acerbum"  classified as a best early harvest olive oil and this is the real olive oil culture that we EVOO producers must continue to pass on to consumers.

Our company, which has over 200 years of history and tradition, organizes guided tours in the family-owned ancient olive groves and EVOO tasting sessions to promote and enhance not only our territory, but also the EVOO of itself and in itself, the true elixir of our health.

Azienda Agricola Guardiani Farchione

Via XX Settembre, 30
65028 Tocco da Casauria

phone 085 880509 - Fax 085 8809713
email: info@guardianifarchione.com

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