Florentine bankers since medieval times, the Frescobaldis were also treasurers to the English court at the end of the 13th century, and lent vast sums to Edward I and Edward II, eventually becoming their tax inspectors. After differences with the monarch forced them out of England, however, the Frescobaldis took their own form of revenge, blockading the court’s wine supply by commandeering the English king’s French wine shipments, leaving the court dry until the following year’s harvest.
Records do not show if they also supplied the Royal court with olive oil, but they would certainly have been producing it. Luckily, we have not had a falling out with them, and, so far, our supplies of olive oil are safe.
After the severe frosts in Tuscany in 1985, a group of producers set a marketing group up under the Laudemio banner, as a guarantee of provenance and quality. The Frescobaldis were one of the instigators of Laudemio, and the oils were launched, first in Florence and then here at two events, one at the River Café, one at the Italian embassy. The Frescobaldis have their mill at Camperiti, just down the road from their beautiful Castello di Nipozzano, and it is here that they press the olives, Frantoio (70%), Moraiolo (20%) and Leccino (10%) and still store the oil in glazed earthenware orcios.
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