Finding myself in Tuscany for the first time, I was unaware that wine is not the only thing bottled in the storied hills of one of Italy's most famous regions. It turns out that water and oil are two more forms of liquid gold which Tuscans count as a source of pride.
I learned about the latter during my visit to Villa Campestri where you can stay, eat, drink and learn about olive oil. You can also enjoy it as an ingredient in your spa treatments.
Gemma Pasquali, daughter of owner Paolo, is an official Olive Oil Taster and she taught me the real way to taste olive oil as well as to differentiate between fresh oil and that which has already past its prime. On the villa's property, olives are harvested and turned into oil in a process that ensures the oil will be used before expiring. They're seeking to educate consumers and chefs around the world but they're also practicing what they preach.
Villa Campestri is a stunning villa with a long history but it's also a beautiful place to stay where you can do so much more than just enjoy the views and sleep well. Instead, you will leave with knowledge that will forever change the way you shop and cook in your kitchen at home.
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Perfect respite in the Tuscan countryside
Needing a place to stay on our way through Italy for just a couple of nights, we thought this resort a bit outside of the bustling big city would be the perfect place to relax. We had so little time there, we were unable to take advantage of the activities they offered, but it wasn't even necessary. Reading a book, sitting by the pool or just exploring the grounds was simply spectacular because of the stunning scenery in every direction. Not to mention the kitchen - for breakfast, lunch and dinner - churned out some pretty delicious stuff.