Alessia Antinori, the youngest daughter of Piero Antinori, one of Italy's most respected Tuscan wine producers, has teamed with a well-known olive oil expert, Niccolo Martini Bernardi, to create an innovative way to sell Tuscan olive oil. The new brand, called Novizio, is freshly pressed and then sold frozen.
According to Antinori, 23, the "aim [of the product] is to bring the culture and understanding of olive oil to all those near and far away who are olive oil lovers." She explained that olive oil's pungent aroma and delicate flavor is at its best when the oil is freshly pressed. But when shipped, the oil can be stressed by transport and heat, so the Novizio bottles travel as frozen goods.
The olives, which come from just outside Florence, are picked and pressed in the second half of November. The oil is then promptly frozen to maintain its original levels of acidity, vitamin E and other essential properties. Once defrosted, Antinori said, its fragrance and taste should be no different from freshly pressed olive oil. After the bottles are opened, the oil is best consumed within 15 days.
Novizio should be available by February 2000 in gourmet shops, delicatessens and fine restaurants in the United States and the rest of Europe. The oil will be sold in 250-ml and 500-ml bottles for $15 and $25, respectively.
"For those of you who have not yet had the delight of eating a bruschetta with freshly pressed olive oil, you don't know what you're missing," said Antinori. "The fragrance of fresh olive oil enhances all garden vegetables, salads and pasta. However, I have to admit, I'm totally obsessed with bruschetta."