TODAY WE MEET THE FATTORIA I TATTOLI COMPANY WINNER OF THE BEST DOP OIL IN ITALY 2022 AWARD. AN AWARD THAT IS ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT AS THE PROTECTED DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN CERTIFICATION HOLDS HIGH THE FLAG OF ITALIAN QUALITY AND IS A DECISIVE FACTOR IN EXPORTS. The journey to discover the special awards in the Oli d’Italia 2022 guide continues. Today we meet the Fattoria I Tattoli company winner of the ‘Best DOP oil’ award. The olive-growing adventure of the Bini Smaghi family began in 2012, but it has been present in this territory for centuries with a property that includes the estate and the most important villa in the area. Here, on 7 hectares (the estate has 50 hectares), there are around 2,500 olive trees of typical regional varieties. It is in this context that the extra virgin olive oil that wins the ‘best DOP oil’ award is produced, an award that is all the more important in terms of export and the image of the sector and Italy in the world. Here is our interview with Cristina Gazzana Bini Smaghi of Fattoria I Tattoli. What have been the main stages in your history? It all started six years ago when I had finished a period of work in the world of antiques and my husband offered me a job on his farm near San Casciano in Val di Pesa producing oil and grapes. Since I had no experience in the sector, through the Consorzio del Chianti Classico I learned about the oil tasting courses run by Airo, an association of oil restaurants in San Casciano. From there a passion was born that led me to be among the ‘pioneers’ of the Airo courses in Milan, my city. How is such a high level of quality achieved? To achieve high levels, it was enough to carefully follow all the steps suggested by the various professionals in the association. But it takes time, it has to be said, because first of all you have to change the mindset of those who work with you, and I can assure you that it was not always easy to get a little country expert to give the right advice. Some investments then helped make the difference. How is the company doing on the commercial front? We have always had a good historical local clientele, which has gradually increased due to the results obtained, but we are focusing on foreign ones in the hope of better sustaining the management costs from the field to the sale. What, in your opinion, are the actions needed to improve the olive sector? Surely we need supportive agricultural policies, for example for new plantings of olive trees or for the creation of artificial ponds to irrigate the plants, as well as support to participate in trade fairs abroad. Years ago, we took part in the Tuscany Region’s Gal-Start competition, which was a bit of a driving force for our company and allowed us to buy useful machinery for processing and preserving oil. In your opinion, how should the communication of quality extra virgin olive oil be changed or improved? What are the right keywords to increase the use of this product among consumers? Based on scientific studies that have now been cleared by everyone, quality extra virgin olive oil has indispensable nutraceutical properties and is the basic nutrient for each of us to accompany our dishes. Good oil costs more because there is a lot of work behind it, but medicine to repair the damage of an unhealthy diet also costs money. Besides it tastes good, it enhances the flavour of food. Just a drizzle of oil on a slice of bread can make anyone happy! This year we had a very high peak of polyphenols, 830 mg/kg: this means that our oil has a strong antioxidant power for those who eat it and probably deteriorates more slowly over time. What is your approach to the concept of environmental sustainability? This is a key topic for me, a fixed point for the future and although we are not yet organic, as far as plants are concerned we have been using only natural pesticides for years now.