October 2008

Phil Noto called from Sicily today to provide an update on the harvest at Santisi. It’s a very good year, with a plentiful harvest and an exceptional quality olive oil. The oil is sweet to the palate, and yet, the novello is very peppery, as it should be! Santisi is crafted from Sant’Agatese olives are grown in the province of Messina. 

While Santisi extra vergine is a monocultivar of Sant’Agatese, a nearby estate produces a “biologica” (EU Certified Organic) oil with Nocellara Messinese — the lovely purple olives in the photo. (You can click to enlarge the photos for a better view). The gentleman with the donkey is another neighbor taking part in the annual ritual of bringing his olives to the press. Lastly, in the final stages notice the lovely green olive coming from the press, guided by Phil’s “cousin” Angelo Noto. (In my family everyone’s a cousin!)

  At Olio2go we have the 2011 Santisi Novello  in stock.  (October 31, 2008; links updated March 2012.)

Gourmet police officers have been trained to detect “counterfeit” extra virgin olive oil from the real thing. You can read the story in the London Telegraph.

Italy produces less olive oil than the country consumes, making large volume (grocery store) olive oils especially suspect. The difference is made up by imports from Spain, Tunisia, Greece and Turkey.

We stand by our small production olive oils from family estates. When they run out of a year’s production, we just can’t get any more. They’re not buying olive oil for bottling!

Award winning olive oil from Azienda del Carmine in Marche

Award winning olive oil from Azienda del Carmine in Marche

As we approach the holiday season amidst an “unusual” economic time, I can’t think of better gifts than food gifts. Food is a necessity, and nice food makes dining a pleasure. Is that too simple? Fine extra virgin Italian olive oil makes a superb gift for several reasons:

It’s different from wine!
Anyone can give wine. OK, anyone over 21 can give wine as a gift, but wine can also be complicated. Do you know your varietals and vintages? Does the recipient? Does the recipient have a medical or religous reason that prevents them from enjoying a nice Pinot Grigio?

It’s good for you!
It doesn’t feature the sodium or cholesterol burdens of other foods, and can add delightfully to many portions of a meal. It’s the best fat — good enough to have a qualified health claim from the FDA. The simplest appetizer — a loaf of bread and a flavorful bottle of olive oil. Add it to soups or vegetables, add a swirl over a steak, begin or finish a risotto….

Your Recipients will appreciate it!
They may think of olive oil as a splurge rather than a necessity, but they’ll try and enjoy your gourmet gift!

You can order it online and have it shipped! At Olio2go, we’re preparing holiday gift selections to make the Winter Holidays easier for you. It’s perfect for Christmas and Hanukkah, and it’s a terrific hostess gift throughout the year.

Olio Verde from Sicily -- the first of the year!

Olio Verde from Sicily -- the first of the year!

We’re received word that Italy’s 2008 olive harvest has begun at Azienda del Carmine in Marche, Marfuga in Umbria, and Gianfranco Becchina’s estate in Sicily.

Here’s a great post from the blog Lucy’s Kitchen on her recent visit to the home of Olio Verde, where the harvest began on October 6th!

At Olio2go we read another great news story this week on the benefits of olive oil in a healthy diet. In the latest news, oleic acid in olive oil suppresses hunger pains according to research from UC Irvine. You can read the story, here in US News and World Report.

Great food, great flavor, and healthy benefits!

A press release announcing the relaunch of Olio2go can be found at PRNewswire .

Olio2go today announced the re-launch of the company’s web site, adding both new functionality and more products to its highly regarded Italian olive oil web site. On the web at www.Olio2go.com since 2001, Olio2go is an established source for very high quality 100% Italian olive oil, featuring an even wider selection of artisanal Italian olive oil, balsamic vinegars, and other Italian gourmet food products.

So often at Olio2go, we’re asked pressing questions about olive oil. We have a FAQ and you can read it here.

Olive Trees on a Warm Winter Day

Olive Trees on a Warm Winter Day

These are the Quick Notes.

The earlier the olives are harvested, the less oil they yield. That early oil tends to have peppery characteristics from the “verge of ripeness” of the olives. Early harvested olives yield lower acidity levels than later harvested olives. The early harvested oils also hold the highest levels of the beneficial polyphenols — and associated health benefits.

The early harvest, early bottled, quick shipped olive oils are bottled as Novello oils. We’re planning to carry a half dozen this year. It’s likely that we’ll have three “brands” by early December. Those will be Olio Verde Novello, Tenuta di Capezzana Olio Nuovo, and Canonica Verde Novello. Last year, we had early shipments of Marfuga L’affiorante, Santisi Novello, and Olio Beato Organic New Harvest. The links here relate to the current products. The novellos will be listed on our web site as they become available.

Crossing borders, I like to think of the Novello oils as wine fans think of Beaujolais. It’s the first of the season and definitely worth celebrating.

When do they harvest?

We’re eagerly awaiting news of the harvest. Azienda del Carmine (home of the famed Olio del Carmine and Ascolana) has shared that they are planning to begin the harvest around 15 October. They have even invited our customers to visit the estate to share in the harvest. From Liguria to Sicily, the harvest will take place between October and January, based on the micro-climates of each hillside. Frost is an enemy to the process so those in the coldest microclimates will begin the harvests first, to ensure the crop is harvested before it is “too late”.

And what does cold pressed mean?

In Italian, the phrase “spremitura a freddo” means cold pressed. Through the pressing process, the temperature is monitored to make sure that it does not increase (friction causes heat…) as an increase in temperature can affect the acidity level of the oil. Every Italian extra virgin olive oil is cold pressed.

And, with that, other work is pressing in!