Imagine that you spent your lifetime tending the family’s groves… toiling to prune, worrying about the weather, keeping pests at bay, and in the end, each and every year, producing an olive oil that met the high standards of the family and the regional consortia. At some point wouldn’t you want to know if your oil could compete with the best across Italy or throughout the world?

Of course you would.

So, you enter your magnificent oil in one of the top competitions, in Zurich, Los Angeles, Verona, Perugia or Trieste. And, if all goes well, years of toil will be rewarded.

All will be even better if there’s a way to reach consumers of great olive oil—the wonderful consumers, reading this, who enjoy the best in the world of olive oil.

Over the years we’ve built relationships with these top producers and with other importers. We’ve carefully selected oils that represent the best of Italian extra virgin olive oils. We have a wide range of “winners” in stock right now. (There’s no other retailer in the U.S. with as large a selection of Italian extra virgin olive oil award winners!)

Fresh Award Winners, Currently in stock:

Titone Biologica DOP Valli Trapanesi

Alina, La Pennita in Brisighella

Crudo Extra Virgin, Schiralli

Monti, Giovanni Querci, Fattoria di Monti

Cutrera Primo DOP Monti Iblei Gulfi

DeCarlo Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Planeta DOP Val di Mazara

Marfuga L’affiorante

Principe di Mascio DOP Colli Assisi – Spoleto

Agrumato Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fratelli Colletti Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Colli Etruschi Extra Virgin Olive Oil

We will be modifying this list as soon as additional award winners arrive in our warehouse. As soon as they are in the warehouse, links will be added.

Olio Capitale, Trieste, March 2012

Winner – Medium Intensity Titone Biologica – DOP Valli Trapanesi
Semi-Finalist Olivastro, Quattrociocchi, Itrana Monocultivar, Fruttato Medio
Semi-Finalist Cetrone Intenso, Az. Agr. Alfredo Cetrone

SOL at Vinitaly, Verona, March 2012

Gran Menzione (Medio): Cetrone Intenso from Azienda Agricola Cetrone Alfredo

Gran Menzione (Medio): Frantoio Franci, Le Trebbiane

Gran Menzione (Intenso)

Azienda Madonna dell’Olivo – Raro – Sold out!

Gran Manzione (Intenso): Azienda Agricola Mandranova, coming soon

Gran Manzione (Intenso): Olivastro, Az. Agr. Quattrociocchi

Gran Manzione (Intenso): Rosso, Az. Villa Zottopera

Gambero Rosso presented at Vinitaly, March 2012 (Verona)

“Tre foglie d’oro 2012”

Raro – Madonna dell’Olivo , Campania, SOLD OUT

Selezione Alina Monocultivar Nostrana di Brisighella – Tenuta Pennita, Emilia Romagna

Cetrone Intenso, Monocultivar Itrana – Alfredo Cetrone, Lazio

Olivastro Monocultivar Itrana Bio – Americo Quattrociocchi, Lazio

Crudo Monocultivar Ogliarola – Schiralli, Puglia

Planeta DOP Val di Mazara, Sicily

Titone Biologica DOP Valli Trapanesi, Sicily

Gran Cru Monocultivar Nocellara Etnea – Frantoi Cutrera – Chiaramonte Gulfi (Rg), Sicily, coming soon

Rosso – Villa Zottopera – Chiaramonte Gulfi (Rg), Sicily

Monti – Giovanni Querci Fattoria di Monti, Tuscany

Villa Magra Gran Cru – Frantoio Franci, Tuscany

Marfuga L’Affiorante Monocultivar Moraiolo, Umbria

Principe di Mascio DOP Colli Assisi Spoleto, Umbria

Ercole Olivario, Perugia, March 2012

Alfredo Cetrone di Sonnino, Lazio, 2nd Place, Intensely Fruity

Primo DOP Monti Iblei – Gulfi, 2nd Place, DOP Intensely Fruity

Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition, April 2012

Agrumato Lemon – Silver, Delicate

Crudo Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Gold Medal

Cutrera Primo DOP – Best of Class, Gold Medal

Fratelli Colletti – Silver Medal

Olio Verde – Silver Medal, Robust, Nocellara del Belice

Planeta DOP – Silver, Robust

Titone Biologica DOP – Gold Medal, Medio Fruttato

Rosso, Villa Zottopera – Gold Medal

Zurich – International Olive Oil Award

Titone Biologica DOP Valli Trapanesi

Cutrera Primo DOP

Slow Food

Colli Etruschi Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lazio

Titone Biologica DOP Valli Trapanesi, Sicily

Olio Slow:

Tenuta Pennita – Monte Poggiolo Selezione Alina, Emilia Romagna

Olivastro Biologica, Americo Quattrociocchi, Lazio

GRANDE OLIO:

Frantoio Franci – Villa Magra Grand Cru, Tuscany

Marfuga – L’Affiorante, Umbria

Alfredo Cetrone – Cetrone Intenso, Lazio

Madonna dell’Olivo – Raro, Campania – SOLD OUT

…. all at www.olio2go.com !

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Some time ago, there was a small café in Newport, RI, called Cappuccino’s. It seemed that I enjoyed their pasta salad for days on end and eventually deconstructed it to develop a similar recipe. This has become a summertime favorite in my family. We’ve already made it twice this spring.

Cappuccino’s signature pasta was a curvy twist. My preference is Ruote (also known as Wagon Wheels). Another favorite is Festoni.  In a pinch, I’ll select Penne e Ziti Rigati or even Gnocchi Sardi.

As recipes go, this one lacking in specifics. A little more or a little less of each ingredient will be fine! You’ll be busy chopping so this is a great recipe when you have an extra pair of helping hands. My daughters are a big help for this recipe!

You’ll need to have a very large pasta bowl for this abundance of goodness!

1 package of Vicidomini Ruote Pasta, 500 grams

½ C + Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as Titone DOP Biologica, Gerbino Organic, or Santisi

½ – ¾ C DeCarlo Sun Kissed Tomatoes, or sliced sun dried tomatoes

1-2 C fresh broccoli flowerettes, microwaved for 2 minutes to bright green, with a nice bite

1 Red, Yellow, or Orange Bell Pepper, diced

½ C chopped olives, try Olives from our Savory Pantry or your favorites

1 C cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

½ C celery, chopped

2 scallions/green onions, chopped

½ – ¾ C canned garbanzo beans, drained

6 slices cooked bacon (or pancetta!), crumbled

¼ C basil leaves, slivered

1-2 fresh lemons, juiced (to taste)

Ravida Sea Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Other seasonings to taste

*Good Quality Mayo

Fill an 8-Qt pot with water and heat to boiling. Begin chopping vegetables! Add pasta. While pasta is cooking, microwave the broccoli and cook the bacon.  If you are really fast you can get all of the chopping done before the pasta has cooked.  Drain the pasta while still al dente and rinse to cool the pasta.

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. Add more olive oil as needed. If you like your salad to be a bit creamy, stir in mayo. Chill before serving.

Photo Credit: DomenicaCooks.com

My passions for Italian food and culture are carried forth in any number of ways. I visit every “Italian store” I can find (often comparing it to the store of my childhood, Bari Imports, with its barrels of baccala). If I find olive oil in the back corner of a gourmet store, I will engage the proprietor in a conversation about the oil. Sometimes I will reveal my role in the business.  Sometimes not. (Yesterday when visiting a store I found a 2009 (!) priced at $39.95 for 500 ml. I shudder to think how many remain in the back room).

In the guise of research, aka surfing the web at work, my passion for Italian food leads me to seek Italian recipes with a theme. Currently, that theme is Biscotti. No long ago we posted Nona’s recipe in a recent blog post. And we are currently enamored with these two recipes found on Serious Eats and Domenica Cooks.

The Lemon, Olive Oil, and Almond Biscotti recipe nicely references using a Sicilian Olive Oil. Full-flavored Sicilians such as Titone, Planeta, and Zisola Extra Virgin Olive Oil have the characteristics –a perfect match for these biscotti. (Titone was also recently featured in our blog post on Organic certification).  Must confess to making these with a Tuscan oil, Poggio Etrusco from Pamela Sheldon Johns’ Tuscan estate.

Rich, toasty, and crumbly, the lemon biscotti, provide for a fresh break with morning coffee or later, with tea!

Another fabulous choice: Domenica Marchetti’s Cheese Biscotti are perfect with a salumi platter or a light soup meal. I think they are divine with a rich tomato-based soup. Read the comments from others and you’ll soon be rushing off to buy her cookbooks. Hint: we have her pasta cookbook, The Glorious Pasta of Italy.

As always, use the best ingredients for the best results.

P.s. I’ve been munching on Mattei Biscotti di Prato while writing this post!

Titone Biologica DOP

Awarded Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the Year

 

Big news in the world of Extra Virgin Olive Oil!

Italian producer, Azienda Agricola Biologica Titone, has been awarded Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the Year by Marco Oreggio and his publication Flos Olei 2012, in an announcement made The Olive Oil Times. In a twist of dates, this award announced in October 2011, is for the Titone Biologica DOP 2010 bottling. If you’d like to taste such a notable award winner, you’ll find it at Olio2go. This is a terrific, organic-certified, olive oil from the Trapani area of Sicily.

Principe di Mascio, Rosso, and Trapetto di Caprafico DOP

Top Award Winners

Some folks choose the grocery store oil, assuming it to be extra virgin olive oil. Knowledgable consumers are skeptical, and true fans of olive oil seek award winners. With any of these selections your choices will be a long way from the grocery store shelves. These 2010 olive oils and their coveted awards represent the best olive oils in the world — and these are the top Italian selections.

We scour the olive oil awards as they are released each year (you can find links on our web site) both to identify the awards received by our current producers and to look for new oils to stock. Five major award presentations have been announced in 2011 awards (for 2010 harvest oils). The last major awards are bestowed in June, and those are the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Awards.

Slow Food – the leading authority on authentic, traditional olive oil, awards released May 2011

“Garland” –
Frantoio Franci estate, oils arriving in June

“Tre Olive” –
La Pennita, Alina, Brisighella
Ravida
Titone Biologica DOP
Frescobaldi Laudemio

“Gli Extravergini dell’Emozione” –
Trappeto di Caprafico Organic DOP
Raro, Madonna dell’Oliva
Colli Etruschi
Villa Magra Gran Cru (2009 currently available, 2010 arriving in June)
Villa Magra dei Franci (arriving in June)
Marfuga L’affiorante
Principe di Mascio DOP

International Olive Oil Awards – Zurich (award released April 2011)
Titone Biologica DOP, Golden Olive
Primo DOP Special Mention, Fruttato Intenso, also Gran Menzione in the DOP Category

Sirena d’Oro di Sorrento (awards released March 2011)
Trappeto di Caprifico, Bio, DOP – Second Place, Fruttato Medio
Titone Bio DOP, Fruttato Intenso, 1st place
Principe di Mascio DOP, 2nd place, Fruttato Medio

National Competition L’orciolo d’Oro 2011 (awards released March 2011)
Principe di Mascio DOP DOP Category, 3rd place
La Poderina Toscana Organic, DOP Category, Gran Menzione
Rosso from Villa Zottopera, Gran Menzione, Fruttato Intenso
Ravida, Gran Menzione, Fruttato Leggero
Raro Madonna dell’Oliva, 1st Place, Fruttato Intenso
Titone DOP Biologica, Special Mention, Fruttato Medio; also Organic, Gran Menzione

SOL/Vinitaly
Olio de la Marchia, Ascolana – Gran Mention, Fruttato Medio
Rosso from Villa Zottopera, Bronze, Fruttato Medio
Trappeto di Caprifico (Masciantonio), Bio, DOP – Special Mention, Fruttato Intenso
Frantoio Franci, Gran Menzione (arriving in June)
Titone DOP Biologica – Gran Menzione

Titone Biologica DOP Valli Trapanesi

Titone Biologica DOP Valli Trapanesi

The Los Angeles Olive Oil Awards were just announced and Olio2go is thrilled that we have three available at our web store.

Titone Biologica (Organic) DOP Valli Trapanesi 2008

Los Angeles, Silver Medal, 2009

Frantoio Franci, Villa Magra Gran Cru, 2008

Los Angeles, Silver Medal, 2009

Olio de la Marchia, Ascolana, 2008

Los Angeles, Silver Medal, 2009

Azienda del Carmine Gift Set, a four-bottle set in a charming wooden box, including the Silver award-winning Ascolana and Leccino monocultivars, along with the Frantoio monocultivar and the Olio del Carmine blend.

Great dining in NYC

Great dining in NYC

We spent the weekend in NYC and the highlight was dinner at ESCA, part of Mario Batali’s restaurant empire. Seafood dominates at ESCA, and the service was superb. Of course we discussed olive oil with our servers. Tuscans and Sicilians were served!(That’s not a mention of my roots!)

The wall niches were filled with wines and olive oils. Olio Verde had a prominent place as did Capezzana and Titone DOP Valli Trapanesi Biologica (Organic). You can make these fine selections at Olio2go.

Just to tantalize…our menu selections included…Polipo – Grilled octopus with giant corona beans and preserved sorrento lemon. …Insalatina Amara – Salad of wild and italian bitter greens with dandelion honey vinaigrette…Cavatelli with Clams….Pollo – Organic chicken with fregula, calabrese olives and lemon…Gelati  a selection of three with Balsamic and Honey as the highlight!