Elizabeth and Kasimir Berger were Londoners through and through. All of this changed when they left their corporate careers behind in 2013 in search of the highest quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a life in Italy.
Elizabeth, formerly Marketing Director of Champagne Bollinger and with almost two decades of experience tasting, buying and studying wine and Kasimir, with a background in start-ups and specifically emerging technology platforms met in 2001.
Their journey in to serious, pure, highest quality extra virgin olive oil began at Marco Viola’s door in Umbria.
They were travelling around the region hiking and exploring when they came across Viola olive oil in a restaurant in Montefiascone and both of them were blown away by the quality and intensity – it was unlike anything they had ever tasted before.
So they decided to take a detour and find out where Viola came from. Driving up to the unassuming frantoio in S.Eraclio di Foligno, they knocked on the door, and awoke someone from a post-prandial sleep.
Elizabeth and Kasimir Berger were Londoners before they left their corporate careers behind in 2013 in search of the highest quality extra virgin olive oil and a life in Italy
Olio nuovo. Freshly pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil is vibrant, full of peppery spice and incredibly good for you
Olive Harvest begins in Tuscany. Green olives are shaken down from the trees on to nets and then collected in to small baskets to be taken to the press
Frantoio olives in Southern Tuscany. May the harvest begin!
Elizabeth Berger, founder of Frantoi.org having her first taste of the new season extra virgin olive oil
They scrambled together all the Lire they had and bought two bottles of Viola’s oil. They then spent the next 15 years seeking olive oil of a similar quality but never found anything as good.
So when they moved to Tuscany with their young children, the mission began: to seek out the very best Extra Virgin Olive Oils in the country, produced by artisans who own their own trees and own mill and therefore completely control the quality.
On this voyage of discovery, they have learned a huge amount about the health benefits of olive oil, particularly if green olives are used and if it is consumed when it has recently been pressed.
Their mission is to change the way you buy your extra virgin olive oil by sending it directly from the Frantoio in Italy immediately after it has been pressed to offer as much pleasure and benefit as you get from a mid-summer tomato or a glass of mature fine wine.
To avoid bruising the olives, men are taking in small baskets to the Frantoio
The groves that are hardest to reach require even more hours of manual labor. Harvest is a particularly demanding moment for these artisans
Paolo Cassini, an incredible food hero pressing his Taggiasca olives in Liguria, Northern Italy
As such, they offer the new season olive oil for just eight weeks of the year to give the maximum health benefits and enjoyment window.
Elizabeth has applied her knowledge of wine to olive oil, identifying different flavors from different cultivars that are indigenous to different regions of Italy and pairing them with different foods, so olive oil becomes a real ingredient rather than an after thought and this has begun somewhat of a revolution amongst dedicated foodies.
The health benefits of their oils are now being widely documented and their customer base includes leading nutritionists and doctors as well as some of the top chefs around the world and celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow.
Their 2018 oils are available to order only until Tuesday 4th December for global delivery in time for Christmas.
The olives are hand sorted on arrival at the Frantoio and then thoroughly washed before pressing begins
The Olive paste, from here malaxing begins to coax out the droplets of oil
The olives are hand sorted on arrival at the Frantoio (press) and then thoroughly washed before pressing begins.