The Frantoio Franci Olive Oil Company and family home is set in Montenero d’Orcia, a small hilltop town on the slopes of the Amiata Mountains, overlooking the splendid valley of the River Orcia. To say that this area looks like a picture-postcard gives a slight insight into this stunningly beautiful part of Tuscany. The Olive Oil Company was founded in 1958, in that year brothers Franco and Fernando Franci purchased the famous Villa Magra olive grove proceeding to transform the old barn into an oil-mill - where I first met Giorgio Franci and his 82 year old father Fernando.
Giorgio spoke about 1995 a turning-point in the history of the family business; as this is when a valued collaboration between his father, with a lifetime of experience and Giorgio began, who quickly brought a new energy and his modern ideas on the family business.
Their main priority was to establish a place for their oils on the international market, which has been achieved with careful thought and an obvious passion and attention to detail in everything that they do.
“We were virtually unknown. Our size and structure did not allow us to be competitive with the big producers. Furthermore our skills in producing great oils, was not matched by our commercial ability. It was then that we decided to make quality our goal; a challenging prospect, but a challenge which we eagerly embraced as the only way forward; true, genuine quality, absolute with no compromise.” - Giorgio.
To give you some understanding to the quality of olive oil that they craft here at Frantoio Franci - and the olive oils that I sampled on my tour and tasting in this compact, but state of the art and custom-made oil-mill:
The Guide to the World Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils ‘Flos Olei’ edited by renowned expert Marco Oreggia named Frantoio Franci ‘The Olive Oil Mill of the Year’ - as they achieved the best oil producer in 2003, 2008 and again in 2010. This is from a worldwide selection of more than 3000 oils from producers in 34 participating countries. This is just one an unprecedented list of achievements.
They are ‘by the people in the know’ - at the top of the olive oil industry, not just here in Italy but a benchmark for the oil world. To say it was a pleasure to spend time with Giorgio and have him guide me through his oils - doesn’t quite do the experience justice – but to say if you enjoy good food, these oils are a must on your table.