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A Visit with Bona Frescobaldi, Laudemio Frescobaldi

Bona Frescobaldi is a member of storied Frescobaldi family, whose history in Tuscany dates back over 1000 years and 30 generations, and whose wine estates are world-renowned. She serves as a global ambassador for the family to strengthen international relations. Frescobaldi has made it her life’s mission to support and preserve the art and culture of Tuscany, as well as its agricultural bounty, especially wine and olive oil.

Marchesa Bona Frescobaldi

In 1986, the family created the Laudemio Consortium, the first private Italian institution fully dedicated to expressing the art and terroir of Tuscan olive oil. The family has more than 300 hectares (750 acres) of olive groves and has been harvesting olives and producing olive oil since the 1300s. It wasn’t until 1989 when they produced their first harvest of Laudemio extra-virgin olive oil, a special cru representing the highest expression of terroir and quality.” In the Middle Ages, Laudemio was the name of the best part of the harvest, reserved for the “lord’s table.”

Much like picking grapes, harvesting olives takes place during a carefully monitored window of time in October to capture both the olives’ green color and fresh flavors. The olives are then pressed right after picking within 24 hours in a proprietary mill to ensure the ideal acidic composition and aromatic profile and optimum nutrients in the oil. Frescobaldi manages 100 percent of the entire production process, from plant-picking to packaging to maintain quality control.

Laudemio’s prestigious reputation even has a royal audience. During our conversation, Frescobaldi shared that HRH Prince Charles of Great Britain is a fan of Frescobaldi Laudemio extra-virgin olive oil drizzled over toast. She sends him bottles for his birthday.

 

In addition to her work in wine and olive oil, Frescobaldi is a member of the Friends of Florence, an organization dedicated to preserving and restoring Florentine artifacts; a cofounder of the Committee of the Friends of La Pietra, an association of New York University, whose goal is to maintain and improve relations between Florence and New York. She is also active in numerous civic and social causes around both the arts and women’s health.

What we tasted:

Laudemio Frescobaldi 2018 extra-virgin olive oil, a 30th anniversary special edition packaged in golden bottle that resembles a fine perfume. The olive oil has deep fruit and earthy aromas and flavors with a spicy finish and a deep emerald olive hue Just a few drops drizzled over crusty bread, salad, pasta or chicken is all you need. We even tried it drizzled in plain Greek yogurt for breakfast!

Listen to our SIPS podcast with Bona Frescobaldi on iHeart/iHeart App. Click here:

 

 

 

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Maria Loi – Greece’s Culinary Ambassador- May 13 TCT Live

Strolling West 58th Street recently I peeked into Loi Estiatorio, a sliver of a restaurant owned by renowned Greek chef, Maria Loi. “Peeked” is an understatement. Maria was at the entrance and welcomed me in for a visit with her at the bar. It was pre-service, so the restaurant was quiet (for a short time). Maria offered me a selection of Greek wine plus a delicious Feta-Greek yogurt dip with hard crackers. When I told her I wanted to learn how to make yogurt she went back to her kitchen and brought me a printout of her recipe plus a small bowl of the most luscious yogurt I’ve ever tasted. And more wine.

Greeks are known for their hospitality and passion for their culture and food. Maria is no exception. The global Chef’s Club of Greece has recognized Maria as the official Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy. In addition to Loi Estiatorio in Manhattan, Maria owns an exquisite gourmet restaurant in idyllic Nafpaktos, is a popular television chef and has a line of dinnerware and kitchen appliances.  She’s author of dozens of books including The Greek Diet (with veteran health journalist,Sarah Toland) which was the official cookbook of the 2004 Greek Olympics. The Greek Diet outlines Maria’s 12 Food Pillars for a healthy diet. It’s a simple diet based around fresh vegetables, fruits, seafood, chicken and eggs, whole grains, beans and plenty of olive oil and  yogurt,herbs and spices. And wine – Greek of course!

Chef Maria Loi
Chef Maria Loi

 

I’ve been in a “Greek state of mind” for quite some time since olive oil, yogurt, beans and steamed greens (akin to Cretan style horta) are my dietary staples along with water, coffee and tea (she discusses the benefits of Greek coffee and mountain tea)…..and wine.  Maybe it stems from my years as a young girl devouring stories from Greek mythology (Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, was my personal favorite.) It’s no myth that the Greek diet is among the healthiest, and Maria’s glow and energy are a testament.

Listen to our May 13 show with Chef Maria Loi Here

– Melanie Young

Connect:

https://www.facebook.com/LoiEstiatorio

https://twitter.com/loiestiatorio

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Join Melanie and David Wednesdays 2pm ET for The Connected Table LIVE! Each week we bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality. Listen live on W4CY and anytime on iHeart.com and the iHeart App under Shows and Personalities . Connect:      Twitter (connectedtable)   Facebook  (the connected table).