BrusselsSproutsSaladx

Perfect for late summer, grab some Brussels Sprouts and marry them with the flavors of orange and cranberry!

This is not a conventional recipe, with exact measurements and precise weights. This is a taste-and-adjust recipe.

Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and sliced thin
Radicchio or Red Cabbage, a small portion, perhaps 10% of the Brussels Sprouts volume
Dried Cranberries, aka Craisins, 1/4 to 1/2C
Agrumato Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Acetaia Cattani Organic White Balsamic Vinegar

Place thinly sliced greens and reds in a bowl. Add dried cranberries. Drizzle with Agrumato Orange from Abruzzo. Add salt and pepper as desired. Toss. Add Acetaia Cattani Organic White Balsamic Vinegar. Toss again. Let sit for 20 minutes for the flavors to blend before serving. Enjoy!

Note: If you would like to mellow these robust flavors, subsitute another great extra virgin olive oil, such as Frantoi Cutrera’s Primo or Ravida, for a portion of the Agrumato Orange.

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StillLife_OliveOil

Here we are in the middle of summer with this glorious bounty of produce — and the Italian specialties that bring it to life — packed with flavor for your dining!

Left to right:

Olio Librandi Organic, Calabria
San Macario, Lucca, Tuscany
Verrini Munari Oro, Modena, Emilia Romagna
Olio Verde, Sicily
Zisola DOP, Sicily
Cattani Organic White Balsamic Vinegar, Modena, Emilia Romagna
Luna Vera, Sardinia
Crudo, Puglia

If you’re looking for a flavor-filled experience, with Italian authenticity, we invite you to visit Olio2go enjoy the fabulous treats in this photo.

We are often asked how often we travel to Italy on buying trips (usually twice a year) but there’s one event in the U.S. that brings amazing choices to our shores.

The Fancy Food Show just concluded in New York. As always, we found a phenomenal range of food (olive oil from China?), ice pops made with kale, and more cheese than you can imagine. We stayed true to our mission to find the best selections from Italy!

We met with favorite producers such as Salvatore Cutrera from Frantoi Cutrera, and planned the fall purchases, starting with the zesty Frescolio. We also learned the the flavorful Cutrera Gran Cru Cerasuola has the highest polyphenol level of any of the Cutrera monocultivars. It is over 600!

The most unusual selections were those from Pantelleria, a tiny island far south of Sicily, and very close to Africa, known for the production of capers. Look for these in a few months!

In 2012 our big discovery was pistachio cream from Sicily, an item that has sold out quickly. Sometimes we don’t know just how good our good ideas are. We didn’t find any pistachio cream this year, so we are glad that connection has already been made for our discerning customers. We should be well stocked again by September.

We had a fortuitous moment when we met with a very experienced importer who is bringing in a very exclusive line of hard to buy olive oils. (Those wine producers can be tough negotiators). Look for new selections from Tuscan wine producers after the next harvest.

The Rogers Collection, known to us as an olive oil importer, is also a big mover in the cheese world. We scheduled our visit to their booth to attend this special and ceremonial opening of a new wheel of Parmiggiano-Reggiano DOP. This is a 36-month aged cheese, and even more special in that it is from brown cows. There are only four producers who craft DOP Parmiggiano-Reggiano from brown cows’ milk. Fabulous.

Other photos show our friends from Italian Products, Compagnia del Montale of Modena, pasta and rice selections, and the grand show floor, in the Italy Pavillion.

There it was! In Florence, Learning the Secrets of Tuscan Food

I’ll admit, the photo of bottle of traditional balsamic vinegar (from the Modena consortium)** is what first caught my eye when I grabbed the Travel section of The Washington Post on Sunday, November 4, 2012. It called out to me, to cast everything aside, to delve into this view of food as Italian art for the senses.

Our favorite paragraph centers on tradizionale balsamico…

“She explains that traditional balsamic vinegar, not to be confused with what we Americans put on our salads, contains no wine vinegar; it’s a complicated syrup aged for at least 12 years in small barrels and verified by a European consortium. A small bottle of the luxury dressing costs between about $85 and $200 — or more — depending on how long it has been aged, and Florentines pour it over everything from steak to gelato. In addition to tasting the expensive traditional variety, we sip a plethora of more affordable hybrid balsamics and ponder their subtle undertones.”

At Olio2go we have authentic consortia-approved Aceto Balsamic Tradizionale di Modena selections as well as excellent younger selections, such as the notable Campagnia del Montale Anniversary Special Edition.

If, after reading the Washington Post piece, you’d like to know more about the other markets in Florence, Sant’Ambrogio prvides another look at the foods of Florence.

Any stroll through the cobblestone streets of Centro Storico in Florence will result in glorious surprises as you gain a enlightened appreciation for the food culture of Italy. Mercato Centrale has evolved over the years, and while still Mecca for food lovers, some choose to venture to the Sant’Ambrogio market on the eastern portion of the historic area to ship where the locals outnumber the tourists.

 For more even more fun reading on great Italian food, take a look at this piece on our sister store, Piazza Italian Market, in Easton, Maryland.

 

**This photo isn’t show in the online edition, but this is a bottle from the Modena Consortium.

 

Villa Manodori SelectionsDon’t miss this Forbes article on Chef Massimo Bottura and his new restaurant in Modena, The Best Restaurant in Italy or the Best Restaurant in the World. If you haven’t time to plan a trip or are unable to get those coveted reservations, you can still enjoy his artisanal work at home. Taste a masterpiece with a selection from his astounding range of Villa Manodori Balsamic Vinegars and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Villa Manodori Artigianale Balsamic Vinegar

Villa Manodori Dark Cherry Balsamic Vinegar

Villa Manodori Organic Balsamic Vinegar

Villa Manodori Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Go ahead, read the Forbes article and then visit Olio2go for Chef Massimo Bottura’s sublime selections.

Order online. If you are in the Washington DC area, stop by our store on Hilltop in the Merrifield area of Fairfax.

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.

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.