The Family Savini and the truffle
The launch of the Savini family into the world of truffles began in the Twenties, when Giuseppe Savini, married to Luisa Balestri and the father of four, Vittorio, Argantina, Zelindo and Savino, who lived in Balconevisi, a village on the Tuscan hills not far from San Miniato, had a passion for truffle hunting with his faithful dog. A favourable area for growing valuable white truffles (which were not so popular back then), where the local vegetation, climate and expanses of hilly areas, which make the Era Valley one of the greenest and freshest in Tuscany, produces truly excellent truffles! This favoured his passion, since, without having to go too far from home, he could walk through vast woody areas, the so-called Tartufaie (truffle grounds, because of the aforesaid features).
As it often happens, especially in the families of those times, such passion was soon handed down to his sons as well who, as they grew, began to go truffle hunting with their father. Maybe the least versed or keen of his sons was Zelindo, who certainly preferred game hunting, not least because he could earn a few more liras to indulge in the habits of a young man of the time. Zelindo would be the one who actually launched our company into the world of truffles. It was the Fifties, and Zelindo, back home after the end of the Second World War, married Leontina Chiti, with whom he had three children, and started to work in the estate of Villa Saletta at Palaia (10 km from San Miniato) as a farmer. With his firm, resolute temper, he soon became his master’s trusted man and was appointed to assist the bailiff in responsible positions and eventually became the estate’s gamekeeper because of his passion and cleverness. As well as monitoring the estate’s game preserve, he was the man in charge of escorting the illustrious guests of the estate, that at that time belonged to the Gambacastelli family, around the woods and find the places where they could hunt the best specimens living in the owner’s preserve.
He bought a grocery shop-cum-bar at Montanelli, a small village in the municipal area of Palaia, near Forcoli, a place where game and truffle hunters used to meet for breakfast at dawn, for morning snacks and long after-dinner nights. So he became even more familiar with the truffle hunters’ world as he lived in close contact with them from morning to night, and then he could simply sneak off to the back of his shop at the right time to buy and sell truffles, far from prying and curious eyes. Luciano, the second-born son (who at that time was a young pastry cook and a great lover of cooking), who obviously already had a passion for truffles deeply rooted in his genes, probably the Savini family’s distinctive sign, ran the bar with Carla, his wife.
But Luciano’s job was not just taking care of the bar; it was him who went with and assisted Zelindo in his visits to truffle hunters, in his journeys for ‘midway’ negotiations with traders from Piedmont or Milan, as well as helping him in his deliveries or visiting the local restaurants and delis who worked with truffles.
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The secret to making a good boar sauce is simple: All you need is an excellent raw material and you’re done. Often we find ourselves in front of recipes where it is recommended to marinate for 3-4 days in the wild boar wine and vinegar. We were wrong. Probably the recipe is suitable for wild boars old but still with this procedure can not improve quality, indeed you may have to throw away the meat because it starts rotting. With a good, young wild boar meat is actually just an infusion of a night in wine, herbs and spices. Excellent with noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, penne..su croutons and polenta.
Spicy 'Nduja of Calabria is a typical salami from Calabria consisting of noble pork meat, fresh cream of red hot chili pepper and extra virgin olive oil. 'Nduja is a soft, spreadable salami considered one of the most famous, if not the most famous, of typical calabrian foods.
Seasoned the two Calabrian seas breeze is a spreadable salami, very good to be consumed as an aperitif or in the kitchen to prepare delicious recipes. All raw materials are manufactured strictly by Madeo Food Chain in San Demetrio Corone, Calabria.
The red chili pepper of Calabria is grown in the region and processed in fresh cream which gives greater oiliness to the salami and a nice level of spiciness. The main feature of chili is the high content of vitamin C, even higher than the values of citrus.
Veal tripe (52%), Tuscan organic tomato (32%), red onions (9%), italian extra virgin olive oil(6%), salt and pepper
Is a typical dish of Tuscan cuisine: the stomach of the calf, more precisely of the rumen, which together with omasum and abomasum (respectively called to Florence centopelli and lampredotto) are used in many recipes Florentine.
As tradition dictates, in central Florence, there are still the “tripe” in the markets or in special carts stationed in the streets and squares, cooking andpreparing daily tripe boiled or even already prepared in different variations, stuffing tasty sandwiches for a meal fast and light (the meat tripe is, in fact, very thin).
“6 oils from different cultivars, all from green olives.”
Opera Olei is the first example of a Consortium gathering a few selected producers of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Oils are obtained from six different Cultivars coming from as many Regions and produced by six great “Performers”.
Opera Olei is the Italian Excellence by 6 young producers, who decided to extract oil from Green Olives, harvesting in advance compared to past, traditional patterns. Opera Olei is a perfect synthesis enhancing the territory, the cultivar and the producer: Casaliva by Agraria di Riva del Garda, Frantoio by Franci, Moraiolo by Viola, Itrana by Quattrociocchi, Ottobratica by Olearia San Giorgio and Tonda Iblea by Frantoi Cutrera. Opera Olei is the pride of the healthy part of Italy in the world and the result obtained is the best expression of an extra virgin olive oil linked to particular territories.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tasting : 6 cultivars
FRANTOI CUTRERA – SICILY “IN ITALY, THERE ARE 638 DIFFERENT TYPES OF OLIVES
I love my Land more than anything else. Its colours, its perfumes, its asperities. My land is my life and all its fruit is wealth. I grew up among these beautiful olive groves and oil has always filled the days of my family. Our olive is Tonda Iblea. I can recognize it by its scent only, my eyes closed, among the 638 cultivars making up Italy’s olive grove. Tonda Iblea grows on silver olive trees and is an extraordinary olive that we respect and from which we obtain a great oil. The real proof of how quality is not a concept that is taught, studied or learnt. You must feel quality inside, in your soul, because it is rooted in our consciousness”GIORGIO FRANCI FRANTOIO FRANCI – TUSCANY “THE SCENT OF OLIVE OIL! Being in Val d’Orcia is not simply a stroke of luck. It’s the essence of my days, the foundation of my work in the mill and the passion of life. Val D’Orcia is a total experience of the senses, it’s the perfection of nature bestowed to humanity, as recognized by UNESCO. At Frantoio Franci we have always produced and will continue to produce oil with the utmost respect for Excellence. Our promise is to improve day by day, increasing our commitment, dedication, ability to allow every little variable of nature, which is immobility and mutability. The experience of our extra virgin olive oil calls for a sacrifice, instead. We should not rely on all our senses. We should close our eyes because scent is no liar. Let our sense of smell experience quality. We will be overwhelmed by an intense symphony of vegetable hints, extremely fresh artichokes , lawns of mown grass, prickly thistles, handfuls of almonds, fruit and flowers. Let taste be the king: keep calm and enjoy. AMERIGO QUATTROCIOCCHI AZIENDA AGRICOLA QUATTROCIOCCHI – LAZIO “ACIDITY IS NOT SENSED IN THE MOUTH!" My family has been living on olive trees since 1888; a passion handed down in time, from father to son. Even today in the village, old people use to rub their hands with oil, bring them closer to the nose and think that they are measuring acidity; that same acidity that others, erroneously, taste in their mouths. Today, things are changing and the culture of oil is a serious thing, the farm is still our home, too, surrounded by ancient olive trees on a beautiful hillside. We have a solid principle in our work: we respect our tradition and continuously look after every detail in order not to compromise the quality of the oil we produce. We are always looking forward, aiming at constantly improving. The extra-virgin olive oil obtained from Itrana is one of our best results. We rescued this cultivar from the table, which it has always been reserved by tradition for. The oil we obtain is extraordinary.” MASSIMO FIA AGRARIA RIVA DEL GARDA – TRENTINO “COLD PRESSING DOES NOT STAND FOR QUALITY! Agraria Riva del Garda was established in 1926 with the design of producing high quality extra-virgin olive oil. It is located on the 46th parallel, the extreme boundary for the cultivation of olive trees, where permanently snow-capped Dolomites protect the beautiful Lake Garda that mitigates a unique climate. The common thread running through from the ancient Romans to the present day is extra-virgin olive oil that is renewed every year with aromas and flavours by the enthusiasm of 1200 growers, who – like so many small ants – grow olive trees on steep slopes with incredible passion. We built our project of development on the extraordinary quality of this olive. This articulated and complex project is based on an extensive organization that looks after and protects olives from harvesting to crushing. Our only merit was to make the emotions arising from the tasting of this oil evident and palpable. Its fresh, green scent overcomes you and brings you back to its heart notes: artichoke at first, then tinged with green almond. In the mouth, elegance shines in all its naturalness with a balance between bitter and spicy that is difficult to reproduce.” MIMMO FAZARI OLEARIA SAN GIORGIO – CALABRIA “CLOUDY OIL? NO, THANKS! To ensure the highest quality, we use innovative techniques that allow us to achieve excellence. We chased a dream, a complex project, slowed down sometimes by customs and concerns. A very hard work, rewarded by extraordinary and widely recognized results. The fabulous nectar obtained from Ottobratica best represents the work done to date and confirms that the path taken is the right one. A clear and perfumed oil. MARCO VIOLA AZIENDA AGRARIA VIOLA – UMBRIA “BITTER AND PUNGENT OIL, ELIXIR OF LONG LIFE! I live in Umbria. My family has been owning an oil mill in Sant’Eraclio di Foligno for nearly a century. I love Moraiolo, its scents have always accompanied me throughout life; I love the bitter and pungent hints that characterize our oil and its richness in polyphenols. Every year I passionately engage in taming the exuberance of this cultivar; small olives that are healthy harvested at the right maturity, and from which we obtain an oil of character, with bitter and pungent hints strongly marking its history. This oil smells of fruit and heart of artichoke, has a deep green colour and an enveloping, elegant, infinite taste. Oil had been my grandfather’s life, was my father’s life and today is my life.I grew up among olive trees that sink their roots in rocky soils. Every day Oil is the centrepiece of my table.”