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. Before immigrating to Canada in the late 80s, they travelled extensively leaving Florence, Italy and setting up homes in Venezuela and Somalia. 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.
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. 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.
An Assaggiatore di Olio di Oliva (certified Olive Oil Taster), designated by O.N.A.O.O.(National Association of Olive Oil Tasters – Imperia, Italy) Bucchino also founded and operates its first international chapter for the Canadian territory. Currently, he is on track to be enrolled in the Italian list of technicians and experts of virgin and extra virgin olive oils. Once achieved, he’ll be among the first Canadian-Italians to ever obtain the designation.
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 Local Kitchen & Wine Bar, Enoteca Sociale, 7 Numbers, and Tutti Matti. These dinners focus 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 Adagio 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, how it was extracted, transported and stored, all largely determines its flavour, aroma, and health benefits.” However, one of the key differences between wine and olive oil, is that olive oil does not age very well, so you wouldn’t do well bidding at 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 considered. To Bucchino olive oil is a fresh and seasonal ingredient that has the ability to chemically change itself and a dish when in contact with other ingredients. He believes that it should belong to the produce section of the grocery store and not on a shelf along with staples and condiments.
“It is this lack of public information and old misconceptions of tradition and age that have given birth to one of the most fraudulent industries in the World,” saysBucchino, “and it is this fraud that caused many farmers to abandon their groves as their costs of production were two and three times the cost of resale.”
The collective’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 large commercial olive producers.
Not only an advocate, producer and importer, but Bucchino is a frequent judge on olive oil contests, has participated on official tasting panels in the Florence Chamber of Commerce, worked with the Italian Trade Commission, Slow Food Italy and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce of Toronto to help educate on Italian and Spanish Extra Virgins. He contributes to the Brazilian Olive Oil Guide and has taught as part of the Globe and Mail’s Gastronomia program.
In 2019 he produced and stars 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 and has been selected to screen at Jerome Indie Film & Music Festival, as well make 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.
Watch the trailer, here: obsessedwitholiveoil.com
Like his punk rock roots, the ethics and DIY 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, extra virgin olio nuovo (new oil), derived from groves that were once abandoned and have been brought back to life.” They’ve abandoned the practices that surround the commercial olive oil industry, from production to storage, to use and consumption. Says Bucchino, “we take pride in compensating the olive farmers fairly and always putting quality before quantity.” 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, and in turn the bottles are air-shipped, and delivered directly to trusted partners, or for 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 interview and promotional tasting events, please contact:
Stephen McGrath firstname.lastname@example.org