Nicola Bovoli, Passing of a Legend

We are writing in memory of Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil legend, Nicola Bovoli. He passed away in his sleep on February 20th, 2018. He was 73 years old.

We have known and loved Nicola for the past 20 years, since the very beginnings of Gustiamo. Not only was he one of our most trusted and respected olive oil mentors, he was the same for many good young Italian olive farmers.

Frankly, the thought that Nicola is no longer “just a skype call away” is breaking our hearts.

Nicola was the person we’d call when we needed to do a guided EVOO tasting with an expert. Nicola was the person we would call as soon as we found a new bottle of fake Tuscan olive oil on the American market and needed to vent about it.  Nicola was the person we’d call, when we needed to clarify, for the umpteenth time, how it’s possible that the front of a bottle of EVOO says “Italian” and the back says “Tunisian.” Nicola was infinitely patient.

Nicola’s wife, Lucia, is also infinitely patient. Lucia and Nicola were a true team fighting for good EVOO. Together they were an exuberant and generous power couple. Many of us on the Gusti Team have fond memories of eating at their family table in Vicopisano, lots of Pasta Martelli, lots of Tuscan EVOO, and the most wonderful people.

Lucia, we are so sorry for your loss.

Nicola’s passion for Tuscany and the solidarity he fostered with his fellow EVOO makers was admirable. He was a defender of Italian EVOO. He was a defender of the integrity of the IGP Olio Toscano, one of Italy’s most respectable IGPs. He was not afraid to call out, investigate, and shed light on companies who appropriate the name Toscano for selfish gains, especially the ones in the US.

The last time Nicola came to the Gustiamo warehouse was hysterically memorable. It was the day of a major NYC snow storm. Hardly any of the friends that we had invited to the tasting could make it because of the weather. Of course the Gusti Team was there, so were Nicola and Lucia. Nicola was  wearing his iconic three piece suit, complete with pocket watch. We had such a fun day.  That was the first day we met John Costello, our now wholesale manager, he was one of the brave people who came up for the EVOO tasting.

Last year we tried out our very first Gustiamo Facebook Live video. It was an EVOO tasting lead by Nicola. A few weeks after that, he met us in Florence for our Benvenuti in America mega party. We will always remember this scene with Nicola at the head of the table; eating pasta Faella and drinking Pianogrillo wine with many of the Gustiamo food producers. It was a joyous moment.

Nicola’s passing comes just after the 2017-2018 olive harvest, this year’s vintage of his Vicopisano EVOO is superb. It is a comfort to know that Nicola’s final olive harvest was a roaring success. Nicola, we know we have said it many times, but let us say it once again, grazie mille di tutto.