Fil Bucchino | Abandoned Grove
Filippo (Fil)Bucchino has followed his heart across a lifetime of exploring the globe, trusting his gut and taking cues from some unlikely places: a tour van crossing North America playing from punk rock venues to arena stages, making records and writing with the likes of Rob Cavallo (Green Day) and Dave Bassett (Vance Joy / Elle King); the University of Guelph where he received a BSc in biomedical sciences; and as founder of Abandoned Grove, an alliance of olive oil farmers, producers, chefs, and experts on a mission to raise awareness of extra virgin olive oil and to help change the culture on its proper uses.Read More
For the Bucchino family, olive oil has always been an obsession. With parents, both doctors and health and dietary specialists, the elder Bucchino’s were among the first to champion the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and its philosophies to Canadians, promoting healthy living. Before immigrating to Canada in the late 80s, they travelled extensively, leaving Florence, Italy and setting up homes in Venezuela and Somalia.
For more than two decades, alongside performing, running music studios and producing remixes for the likes of Tricky and Billy Talent, Fil has imported extra virgin olive oil into Canada from select groves in the Chianti (Tuscany). Travelling back to his birthplace each year to participate in the harvest, he has worked to learn and perfect the art of making and delivering olive oil on this side of the Atlantic at peak freshness.
A professional Assaggiatore di Olio di Oliva (a certified Olive Oil Taster) and one of three in North America enrolled in the O.N.A.O.O. (National Association of Olive Oil Tasters – Imperia, Italy) international register, Bucchino also founded their first international chapter outside of Italy. He is the only Canadian registered in the Italian National Directory of Virgin and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Experts at the C.C.I.A.A. of Florence.
In his hometown of Toronto, he hosts events, including the annual “Festa dell’ Olio” to celebrate the harvest and the arrival of the new extra virgin olive oil, along with olive oil-centric dinners with renowned restaurants including Enoteca Sociale, Lucia, and Tutti Matti. These dinners focus on pairing Fil’s oil with dishes, from appetizers to desserts, as well as teaching and celebrating the often-unappreciated art of olive oil production. His olive oil was also the featured centre-piece of an exclusive “secret” dinner created by celebrity chef Dario Cecchini for the famed Charlie’s Burgers dinners.
“We have this misconception that all olive oil is created equal,” says Bucchino. “Often considered an invisible ingredient and misclassified as a staple or condiment, but in truth, there is a whole world to it (just like wine or cheese), depending on the type of olive, where it was grown, the climate, how it was harvested, extracted, transported and stored. All largely determines its flavour, aroma, and health benefits.”
To Bucchino, olive oil is a fresh and seasonal ingredient that can chemically change itself and a dish when in contact with other ingredients. However, one of the critical differences between wine and olive oil is that it doesn’t age very well, so you wouldn’t do well bidding at an auction for vintage oil. The key is to recognize that when well-produced, the fresher and younger the oil, the better and more valuable it should be.
He believes it should belong to the grocery store’s produce section, not on a shelf, along with staples and condiments.
“It is this lack of public information and misconceptions of tradition and quality that often make room for fraud,” says Bucchino, “and it is this fraud that causes many farmers to abandon their groves as their production costs are two and three times the cost of resale.”
Abandoned Grove’s name stems from the fact that many independent olive oil farmers have been forced to abandon their olive groves after being driven out of business by sizeable commercial olive producers.
Not only an advocate, producer and importer, but Bucchino is a frequent judge on international olive oil contests (Evo I.O.O.C., Orciolo d’Oro (Italy), Olio Nuovo Days, Olive d’Or, Olivonomy (France), Olio Nuovo Days Liwa (UAE), C.I.O.O.C. (Canada)), he participates in official tasting panels in the Florence Chamber of Commerce, works with the Yale University Olive Oil Institute, M.D.R. (Mediterranean Round Table), Women in Olive Oil, and has held master classes for the Italian Trade Commission, Slow Food Italy, the Italian and Spanish Chambers of Commerce of Toronto as well as hosting the most extensive olive oil tasting to date at Yale University. He is a contributor to the Brazilian Olive Oil Guide, Spain’s Anuario Olivar, featured in UAE’s Shawati Magazine and South Korea’s Magazine F. He has taught as part of the Globe and Mail’s Gastronomia program. Fil has contributed to various books, including Chef Andrea Perini’s “Trenta Gocce” and David Neuman’s “Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The truth in your kitchen.”
In 2019 he produced and starred in a feature documentary titled appropriately, “Obsessed with Olive Oil,” which saw its premiere at the Arizona Arcosanti Film Carnivale, winning the Special Recognition Audience Award. The film was also a finalist at the Bergamo Food Film Festival, screened at Sonoma Int. F.F., San Antonio FF, Dunedin Int. FF, Jerome Indie Film & Music Festival, also made its Canadian debut as part of Devour!, the world’s largest film festival dedicated exclusively to food, hosted in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The film highlights and focuses on the many people behind and the positive aspects of the extra virgin olive oil art form.
Like his punk rock roots, the ethics and D.I.Y. nature that informs the music that has soundtracked his life, taking an honest look at the modern production of fine extra virgin olive oil, Abandoned Grove seeks to set a new standard for transparency, quality, and freshness.
“We adhere to the yearly wishes of nature and only focus on craft, limited quantity, premium extra virgin olive oil, derived from groves that were once abandoned and have been brought back to life.”
Bucchino, “we take pride in compensating the olive farmers fairly and always putting quality before quantity.” we’ve abandoned the practices surrounding the commercial olive oil industry, from production to storage to use and consumption. The importance of differentiating between commercial and artisanal olive oils for the industry and the consumer means that every year our job is to interpret and translate the wishes of mother nature in our olive oil. In turn, the bottles are air-shipped and delivered directly to trusted partners or Abandoned Grove members to their front doors, ensuring consumption of true extra virgin olive oil is at its peak freshness – straight from the harvest.
For further information, high-resolution photography, or to request an interview and promotional tasting events, please contact:
Stephen McGrath email@example.com