Olive Oil Thoughts


Agrumato Lemon HerbFabulous food blogger Adri Barr Crocetti took Agrumato Lemon & Herbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a test drive.

“…because the olives are pressed simultaneously with the lemons the oil exhibits a remarkable harmony of flavor…”

She packs recipe ideas into her post…with snacking ideas and a marvelous Fresh Mushroom and Herb Salad. If you are wondering about the Nepitella as we were, AllThingsTuscan has a post as well.

Click here for the blog post and recipes.

Nepitella seeds can be purchased here.

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(Updated 4 June 2013)

This week we received updates on the competitions, Ercole Olivario XXI 2013 and Biol 2013.

Marfuga has informed us that their olive oil was noted as the best extra-virgin Italian olive oil in the Ercole Olivario 2013 competition. Many congratulations to all!

Among our current list of olive oils and producers, these producers received recognition at Ercole Olivario 2013.

Franci Toscano IGP

Franci, Villa Magra

Cutrera Primo DOP

Marfuga (we carry Marfuga L’affiorante)

The remarkable oils at BIOL 2013 are:

LABEL, COMPANY, REGION, COUNTRY, MENTION, EXCELLENCE, In Stock status?

  • Librandi Monocultivar Nocellara Del Belice, Azienda Agricola Librandi Pasquale, Calabria, Italia, GOLD, EXTRAGOLD, Coming Soon to Olio2go
  • Quattrociocchi Olivastro Itrana Etichetta Nera, Azienda Agricola Americo Quattrociocchi, Lazio, Italia, GOLD, EXTRAGOLD
  • Primo Bio, Frantoi Cutrera Di Cutrera G.&C. Snc, Sicilia, Italia, GOLD, EXTRAGOLD, Primo DOP in stock
  • Titone DOP Valli Trapanesi, Azienda Agricola Biologica Titone, Sicilia, Italia, GOLD, EXTRAGOLD, In stock now
  • Centonze, Azienda Agricola Antonino Centonze, Sicilia, Italia, GOLD, Coming Soon
  • Gudagnolo Primus, Fattoria Ramerino di Filippo Alampi, Toscana, Italia, GOLD
  • 46 Parallelo Biologico, Agraria Riva Del Garda, Trentino Alto Adige, Italia, GOLD, We have Uliva and 1111 from Agr. Riva del Garda
  • Argento, La Poderina Toscana, Toscana, Italia, SILVER,  Argento is available
  • Affiorante, Azienda Agraria Marfuga, Umbria, Italia, SILVER, In Stock Now

This is an update to our earlier post on the 2013 olive oil competitions, which can be seen here.

(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!

Tom Mueller’s Extra Virginity

Much has been said and written about Tom Mueller’s book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, since it was published in late 2011. (You can see it on our Recommendations page).

We appreciated the minutiae and the revealing details in the quest for authentic extra virgin olive oil. We closely read the snippets and stories of olive oil production in Italy, Spain, Australia, and California.

Mueller’s book includes facets of the industry that are very important to us. Sift through and you will find production costs (up to $800 per ton for picking and milling in California), tree to mill timing, and impossibly low prices in restaurant supply chains.

We were thrilled to see the recognition for Villa Magra Gran Cru on the early pages, and we continue to be certain of our mission to import estate bottled olive oils for our customers.

While the farm-to-table route may be a bit long, our goal is to deliver authenticity, excellence, and character straight to your kitchen just as it departed the frantoio in Italy. Some of our producers are so small that they don’t produce enough to put a case in every WF (~ 3oo stores ~ guess!) store across the country. More laughable would be the idea their oils could be stocked in a big box club store.

Through the book, Mueller also reveals the delivery of a tainted bulk bladder of olive oil, described as like a small green whale, which picked up elements of contamination enroute. It took its journey via shipping container which had previously been treated with pesticides. The flexible bladder absorbed the pesticides, and while detected in time, the end result is a lawsuit. That’s why we continue to import oil in glass bottles. While the weight contributes to the cost, the integrity of the product is maintained.

One of the biggest trends in olive oil sales in the U.S. are the bulk oil stores. Our extra virgin olive oil is sold like wine, based on the authenticity, estate, region, terroir, cultivars, and food pairings. The more layers or pathways between tree and table, the greater possibility of deception. Bottles, sealed, labeled, numbered, and leaving the estate just as they arrive to you, carries forth our mission to provide authentic Italian extra virgin olive oil.

So, which Italian extra virgin olive oils does Mueller recommend? Here’s his list. You can find a selection of them on our site. Scroll down to selected brands by nation, Italy:

You can find the following at Olio2go right now (with a few coming soon!): Tenuta Pennita (Alina), Colli Etruschi (more coming soon), Fontansalsa (Gemini), Fattoria di Monti (Monti and Razzo) Titone, Villa Zottopera (Rosso), DeCarlo of Puglia (noted in an early chapter of Extravirginity!), CetroneQuattrociocchi, Marina Colonna, Crudo,  Frescobaldi Laudemio, and the collection of oils from Frantoio Franci.

Let us know what you think!

[updated 1 January 2013]

Tucci_CookbookOver a hundred years ago, my Tucci ancestors emigrated from Campobasso. Syracuse is the first point of residence that I remember and a branch settled in Cortland by the early 20th Century. We still think of Cortland as the home to our branch of the Tuccis.

Several years ago, we had the opportunity to meet Stanley Tucci’s sister, Christine – on Christmas, no less. It seems that if we search long enough we could find a common point between our Tuccis in Campobasso and theirs in Calabria.

Just this week, while reading Vincent Scordo’s Blog, we realized that Stanley Tucci’s The Tucci Cookbook, was something that would be great fun to have, hold, and display at home. (We have a copy in the store, if you would like to see it). As soon as Olio2go’s holiday rush subsides, I plan to savor each page as I look through for recipes common to our families’ heritage.  

I may be responsible for a blip in the book’s sales as I purchased several copies for gifts for Christmas 2012.

As the world knows, the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. was hit by a destructive storm named Sandy during the last days of October. It was a significant concern for us, first for our own office, store, and warehouse, and also for our colleagues who have warehouses in the path of destruction in New Jersey.

The storm caused tidal waves of concern for importers.  Fantastic holiday goodies, such as panettone, were just reaching our shores.

At Olio2go, we had an import of Novello crossing the ocean, destined for the then-closed Port of New York and New Jersey. While the situation is abating, we are currently awaiting the customs clearance of our weather-delayed new olive oils so that we can deliver this Novello extra virgin olive oil to your doorsteps and holiday tables.

And, this week, as many businesses were getting back to normal, we were informed of a very destructive storm in Europe.  A very high Aqua Alta imposed itself on Venice, while the stors lashed through Tuscany leaving four dead in its wake. Our producers in Tuscany have found it difficult to harvest and mill this week. And quick decisions have been made regarding the timing of the next import. This article from the UK’s Daily Mail Online includes several photos of the destruction, all the way to Rome!

We continue on our mission to bring you the best in Italian olive oil, but wanted to share with you how weather events, both here and there, impact both the production and importing of these fantastic artisanal extra virgin olive oils.

Photo Source: Gazzetta del Sud Online. Accompanying story can be read here.

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