The Story of the Slow Food Presidium Intosso Casoli
The story of the Slow Food Presidium Intosso Casoli brings us back to the 19th century and when the olives had to be softened to be consumed.

The “Intosso” cultivar is a variety of olive native to the hills surrounding the town of Casoli, in the province of Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy. It has been cultivated in this region for centuries, and its unique taste and texture are highly prized by locals and food connoisseurs alike. It is part of the so-called Presidium Slow Food. But what is exactly a Presidium? Let’s understand that first by digging into the history of Slow Food, the global movement that started in Italy in the late 80s by Carlo Petrini as a response to the spread of fast food in Italy.

In the mid-1990s, the Italian movement Slow Food recognized the pressing need to protect food biodiversity. To address this, they initiated the mapping of endangered food products. This effort culminated in the creation of the Ark of Taste, a digital repository that archives a wide array of global food products, ranging from plant varieties and animal breeds to bread, cheeses, cured meats, sweets, and more. 

Although the Ark of Taste remains active and continues to expand daily, the Presidium project signifies a pivot in Slow Food’s approach from merely documenting to actively supporting and protecting these at-risk foodstuffs. With the Presidium, Slow Food transitioned from cataloging to taking concrete, on-the-ground actions in collaboration with producers.

The Presidia of Slow Food represent a tapestry of cultures and ecosystems, ranging from the Alpine regions to tropical forests, from remote islands to the outskirts of bustling cities. They embody the practical application of Slow Food’s ethos, adhering to the principles of agroecology, which includes respecting soil health, water resources, animal well-being, and overall biodiversity, encompassing not only flora and fauna but also the invisible microflora and cultural wealth of traditional wisdom and skills.

The Slow Food Presidium for Intosso Casoli was established to preserve and promote this unique olive variety, as it was facing the risk of extinction due to changes in agricultural practices and economic factors. The unusual name of this variety comes from its traditional method of preparation. Before being eaten, the olives had to be cured, “ndosse,” softened with lye and then pure water, as linguist Gennaro Finamore explained in his 1880 Abruzzian dictionary.

Overall, the Slow Food Presidium for Intosso Casoli is an important initiative that is helping to preserve and promote a unique and culturally significant olive variety, while also supporting the local farmers and communities who have been cultivating Intosso olives for generations.

Presently, a considerable proportion of the annual yield is transformed into a mono-varietal oil, a process that yields exceptional outcomes.

The Intosso Extra Virgin Olive Oil is distinguished by its profoundly fragrant green fruit bouquet, aromas of freshly cut grass and artichokes. Its robust taste is a masterful harmony of bitterness and a spicy bite, enriched by subtle undertones of green peppercorns, just-cracked walnuts, and occasionally, hints of tomato leaves.

We are fortunate enough to have in our portfolio the award-winning Intosso Masciantonio Trappeto di Caprafico, which is currently being used by chefs across Vancouver, including in iconic restaurants such as Kissa Tanto in Chinatown.

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