After deciding that our Italy itinerary would include a car, I started looking for an olive oil tasting in Tuscany. My mom and I had done an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tour in Florence in 2010, and I have been itching to do something similar. (I bought balsamic vinegar with apple that year – not something you would expect – but absolutely delicious!)
Interestingly enough, many of the wine tours we took also included an olive oil tasting. But – this tour? This tour is the best opportunity to taste all the food. I want everyone to do it now. There’s nothing more delicious to do on your tour of Tuscany.
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Olive Oil Tasting in Tuscany – Getting There
This particular tour is right outside of San Gimignano, which makes it an easy drive from any of popular Tuscan towns. (We’ve stayed in Siena and Montepulciano.) If you are staying in San Gimignano, you could easily walk to the winery from the city center. The winery provides detailed driving instructions when you book, but our wireless hotspot kept us on the straight and narrow. If you are driving, there are public lots nearby and they have their own lot on site. I had hoped that we would have time to explore San Gimignano before the tour, but it took a little longer than expected to get out of Liguria so we were right on time. (Yes, that’s my husband contemplating whether or not we should move to San Gimignano.)
Olive Oil Tasting in Tuscany – What to Expect (and Eat)
People talk about large, corporate wineries and olive oil factories taking over Tuscany, but that is not what we experienced. This family-owned winery exudes warmth and Italian hospitality. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by Illaria who immediately offered a tour of the olive orchards and the vineyard. (Both overlook San Gimignano – what a view!)
After the tour, Illaria showed us the proper way to taste wine and bruschetta. We started with white wine (named after a family dog – these are my people!). I never realized salt, bread, and olive oil could be so tasty. I never thought to add salt to my olive oil, but it enhances the flavor in the most delicious way. Seriously – this tour was the beginning of my taste-tests throughout Tuscany. Other delights included traditional bruschetta, including tomato, a traditional pate, and purple cabbage.
Once we finished the bruschetta, Ilaria surprised us with fresh pasta and red wine. I didn’t expect pasta as part of this tasting tour, but it was DELICIOUS. (I don’t know how Italians do it but their fresh flavors just can’t be replicated!)
After finishing off our bowtie pasta, Illaria brought us an extensive selection of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to try, along with more bread, salami, pecorino cheese… and a different red wine! While I expected to love the garlic oil and vinegar, I was in for a surprise. The saffron and truffle balsamic vinegars ended up being my favorites.
BUT WAIT – there’s more! After we had finished tasting all the olive oil and balsamic vinegar we could handle, Illaria had one more surprise! Traditional almond cookies and sweet wine would finish off our delicious meal! (Finish us off, it did. We immediately headed to Montepulciano to check into our lovely hotel for a nap.)
Shipping Tuscan Olive Oil Home
I love it when things are easy. My husband really loves it when we don’t lug heavy, tasty souvenirs all over Italy, too. While we were tasting the olive oils and vinegars, we were provided a price list and an order form. It was lovely because we did not feel rushed or pressured to buy anything. Further, the prices include the shipping expense. I purchased several bottles of balsamic vinegar. When did took this tour again in 2019, my mom shipped several bottles of wine home.
All the goods arrived within a few weeks, and when DHL delivered a broken bottle, the shipping company replaced it immediately. It was super easy to report and the replacement was fast. I feel like I go through more paperwork when I have domestic shipping damage. I was completely impressed with the customer service all the way around.
I highly recommend this tour if you enjoy oil, balsamic vinegar, and wine. It is a feast of culinary delights that offers more than an olive oil tasting in Tuscany – it offers a complete meal and experience.