As Massimo was growing up in the Tuscan town of Scarlino and Marcello in the village of Vinci, never was there a day that delicious EVOO didn't pour over their pinzimonio and pasta at lunch. Never an evening when it didn't scent the main meal.
The two met well into their careers as leaders of olive-growing co-ops dedicated to the preservation of traditional, small-scale cultivation and the outstanding milling and balancing of the flavors that come from the olive fruit. They shared a deep commitment.
Then, in 2004, they took a trip to the United States together.
Americans make lots of Italian food, so neither worried about finding something delicious to eat. Seasoned enough to know good from bad and wise enough to be stubborn in their ways, they set out for a true Italian meal.
But they wandered from restaurant to restaurant without any luck. The few establishments that kept EVOO on hand were serving old, tired and flavorless stuff. No one could tell them where the mysterious liquids hailed from.
Marcello refused to eat his vegetables. Massimo wouldn't even touch a piece of bread.