Olive Oil Tastings


(updated 4 June 2013)

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The first of the new harvest’s award winners have been announced. These olive oil competitions are very important in the world of top quality olive oil, as they recognize the year’s worth effort and care. In this blog post, we will take a look at the announcements from Olio Capitale, SOL d’Oro, and Marco Oreggia’s Flos Olei 2013.

Olio Capitale was held in Trieste in early March, and among the awards, there are a number of olive oils that are well known to us. (For some of the oils listed below, we are still awaiting the 2012 selections).

Olio Capitale Awards

Finalists/Medio Intenso
Cetrone Intenso
Franci Toscano IGP

Finalist/Fruttato Intenso
Fattoria di Monti Razzo 2012
DeCarlo, DOP Torre de Mossa 2012

Semi Finalist/Medio Intenso
Quattrociocchi Olivastro
Semi Finalist/Fruttato Intenso
Fonte di Foiano, Gran Cru 2012
Cutrera Primo DOP 2012
Fattoria Ramerino Primus 2012

SOL d’Oro will be held in Verona in April, and they have already released their 2013 winners, named by producer.

Organic
Riva del Garda, Silver – We have Uliva DOP Garda-Trentino.
Titone Bio DOP Valli Trapanese, Bronze

Special Mention
Olio Librandi (coming soon)
DeCarlo, DOP Torre de Mossa 2012
Centonze

Fruttato Intenso
Villa Magra, Franci, Gold
Madonna dell’Olivo, Raro, Bronze

Special Mention
Cutrera Primo DOP

Medio Fruttato
Bronze, DeCarlo, Terre del Mosso DOP
Monovarietale
Gold, Cetrone Intenso

Flos Olei 2013

The 2013 Flos Olei, published early in the harvest year, is the well regarded Marco Oreggia review of olive oils. In general, Flos Olei 2013 awarded the 2011 selections. It is seen by many as a watchdog of consistent quality in the industry with the idea that the producers provide consistently exceptional olive oils from year to year.

The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the World, DeCarlo Torre di Mossa DOP

The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Organic Farming, Quattrociocchi

The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Monovarietal – Intense Fruity, Cetrone – Intenso

The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Blended – Intense Fruity, Madonna dell’Olivo Raro Denocciolato

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Having consumed inordinate amounts of olive oil,  it is time to reflect on Olio Capitale.

When planning the trip, Trieste seemed to be at an awkwardly distant location for a major fair.  If you are planning a trip to Italy, the best way to describe Trieste’s location is 2 hours past Venice!

Stunningly gorgeous, perhaps more Eastern European than Italian, Trieste is a gem, and we would not have ever found this wonderful city without Olio Capitale.

Olio Capitale is a conference and “fair” or trade show devoted to olive oil.  With few exceptions every booth featured Italian olive oil. The producers ranged in size from 650 liters to hundreds of thousands of liters. The beautiful setting was a building on a pier in the harbor of Trieste. From the outdoor pathways we could see snow capped Alps through the haze.

Two floors were devoted to olive oils booths, a kitchen stage, and gathering places, including an oil bar where all could be tasted (without the polite judgments one makes in front of the producers).

It is always good to meet old friends and is certainly felt that way to meet Americo Quattrociocchi. We are big fans of his bold Olivastro, noted his new award for Best Organic Mill,  and began plans to add his rich and flavorful jams to our line.

We also met Nino Centoze from Sicily after having received many emails from him. We think his oil and packaging are outstanding. Look for it soon.

Onto the new trends: the square bottle, like that of Olio Verde. Several producers have one, including Centonze. Another new bottle is the silver bullet, stainless steel bottle (suggested to be sold with one liter tins). For the first time, we saw a deep purple bottle (rather than dark green), as effective against the light waves as dark green. That holds a Sardinian oil we enjoyed.

As always there were discussions on competitors’ bottles, in the most polite way, of course. They noted the clear bottles (use it quickly) and even the light green of Laudemio glass (with general agreement to keep it in the box). I discovered one producer sampling with bottles of 2011 oil and departed that booth rather quickly!

Our next post will take a look at the event’s award winners!

 Raccolto 2012 Selections

As we introduce each of our our Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oils, there are two questions we answer most often:

(1)     What is your favorite olive oil?

That’s something akin to which is your favorite child! I may have a new favorite on any day of the week, but most often, I have 2-3 to select from in my home kitchen (compared to 10-15 in the office kitchen). Some pairings work better or while others work best. Something luscious and fruity for an antipasto platter? Something peppery for a steak? Elements of spiciness on simple beans?

Today’s answers: Capezzana from Tuscany, Fonte di Foiano (Tuscany), Raro (Campania).

Tomorrow’s answers: Cutrera’s Primo DOP (Sicily), La Poderina Toscana DOP (Tuscany), Colli Etruschi (Lazio).

Next week is wide open — there are so many to choose from!

(2)     The other question is… “you don’t use these for cooking, do you?”

In all honesty, I do. The first several inches of any bottle are used for the best, freshest presentations, but when I get down to the last inch, I’m eager to move onto the next bottle. So the precious-but-little oil goes by the tablespoon onto roasted vegetables, in pizza dough, on focaccia, and even in a quick sauté of vegetables (like sautéed shredded Brussels Sprouts!)

With the right tools and the best ingredients, cooking is more fun and eating is very satisfying and great meals inspire the next meals!

A New Look at Olio2go

We were so lucky to host Domenica Marchetti in the new Olio2go store last evening. Our customers enjoyed speaking with her about pasta making (techniques for gnocchi) and their favorite recipes from her cookbooks: The Glorious Pasta of Italy, Big Night In, and Glorious Soups and Stews. We learned that her favorite region is Abruzzo, and it is just a joy to discuss all things related to food and Italy with her. Be sure to take a look at her blog, where you will also see our recent interview on olive oil.

Our guests were treated to two recipes from Glorious Pasta, and they rounded out their tastings with samples of Italian extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Big hits? Rosso from Villa Zottopera, Pamela Sheldon Johns’ Pace da Poggio Etrusco, and the Anniversary Balsamic from Compania del Montale.

We are planning many special events to kick off our Grand Opening of the new Olio2go store in Fairfax, Virginia. Take a first look at our front door, with these gorgeous pots of Lantana to welcome you.

Our Grand Opening Special Events will fill the month of September. Plan to join us for a visit and booksigning by a noted chef and author, an evening with wine and appetizers, days with delightful salads.

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the McLean Project for the Arts, Olio2go participated in “The Art of Italian Olive Oil”, a private olive oil tasting and luncheon in the MPA galley.  We enjoyed a tasting of four olives oils and two tapenade selections, the true magic was found in RSVP Catering’s pairing of the oils (and Vincotto Fig Vinegar) with their recipes. One very lucky guest received the Cutrera Gran Cru Tasting Set

— the door prize!

Santa Chiara Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2011

Principe di Mascio DOP Colli Assisi – Spoleto 2011

Gerbino Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2011

Pelliccia Estate Bottled Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2011

Vincotto Fig Vinegar

Maida Pomodori Secchi Crema Sundried Tomato Spread

Maida Olive al Cacao Pate

Orders noted with MPA and received by midnight on July 16, 2012 will be counted toward Olio2go’s donation to MPA.

In our ongoing mission to provide the best in Italian extra virgin olive oil and specialty foods, there’s one event that is the highlight of each summer: the Fancy Food Show.

Usually hosted in New York City, the show decamped to DC for the second and final year. With the completion of the refurbishment of the Javits Center, the show will return to its home next year. Not that NYC is a hardship, but we’ve been fortunate to have the show in our own backyard at the Washington DC Convention Center.

The Italian Trade Commission anchors a large pavilion for producers from Italy, complete with a corps of translators. This year’s pavilion was crowded with producers from Sicily–with smaller numbers from other regions. We are on a quest for products from further afield. We are seeking products from Veneto, Molise, Calabria, and Basilicata to fill a few gaps.

As always, the highlight was meeting with vendors who have become friends and compatriots in the world of food. We’re thrilled that our best selling balsamic vinegar, Villa Manodori Artigianale, won a Gold SOFI award in the classic category. A terrific and well deserved award.

As a result of our meetings at the show, our shelves will soon carry gems such as spicy jarred olives, Morello cherries, a spicy red pepper spread, and more herb blends. We’ve found a delightful bergamot infused oil from Molise, and a new selection, Itrans, the sibling olive oil to the sold out Raro, from Madonna del Olivo in Campania. To wrap it all together, there’s a new section of exquisite cotton and linen damask dish towels, tablecloths, and aprons — in designs featuring wheat, grapes, and even olives. We will announce each arrival through our emails, so be sure you are on the email list! (Sign up here).

Photos: The Italy Pavillion, The Gold Sofi Award for Villa Manodori, and Luanne with Kevin from Manicaretti at the Manicaretti Booth.

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