RadarFlorenceSept2014

For three months now there have been stunning reports of the difficult, challenging, and horrible olive harvest in Italy. Decades have passed since such a crisis last occurred, and that, the Tuscan freeze of 1985, did not reach the broad geographical proportions of this one.

During the month of October, we learned of the losses on a daily basis. Each phone call and email told a tale of crop failures and weather issues. Few areas were immune. In general, windstorms, rain, a cool summer, and a hailstorm were the weather issues. A bug and a fungus took hold as well.

Videos of the 18 September 2014 hailstorm in Tuscany can be seen here and here.

As reported to us, the harvests in Sicily were early and small. Problems were noted from The Veneto to Puglia. Producers in Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, and Abruzzo piled on tales of woe.

Outstanding producers chose to bottle no oil in the fall of 2014: Tenuta di Capezzana, Poggio Etrusco, Avignonesi, Fattoria di Monti, Decimi, and others.  We were informed of difficulties among many others who have valiantly produced much smaller quantities than normal. And, need we mention price increases?

There is a human toll that goes far beyond the kitchen table. Families, including farm workers, and bottlers, have experienced reduced wages from the poor harvest. Quality olive oil will likely cost more than ever.

Remembering that there are always variations in characteristics for year to year, the 2014s we have tasted provide a remarkable testament to the skills of the producers. Aromatic, fresh, grassy, bitter, and spicy can all be found in our lucky bottles.

Jan2015Grp

We continue to remain optimistic as we have carefully sourced 30 selections so far this season. Our full line of new olive oils (many shown in photo) can be purchased here.

Frantoi Cutrera, Frescolio and Primo DOP

La Poderina Toscana Organic, Oro and Argento

Gianfranco Becchina’s Olio Verde Novello

Frescobaldi First Pressing

Titone Novello

Santisi Novello

Azienda del Carmine, Ascolana and Olio del Carmine

CantinArte OroPuro

di Giovanna (Gerbino Biologica)

Marfuga L’Affiorante 

Villa Zottopera Bio and Rosso

Fratelli Colletti

Fattoria Ramerino Primus and Cultivar Frantoio

Principe di Mascio, Novello and DOP

Quattrociocchi Olivastro

In the coming months we look forward to arrivals of many more selections from Italy, including favorites such as:

Olio Librandi

Centonze

Gargiulo Sorrentolio Venus

La Pennita, Alina

Castello del Trebbio

Badia a Coltibuono

Our challenge is to continue to bring in the best Italian extra virgin olive oil in quantities to carry us through to the 2015 harvest.

 

For more information on the topic of the 2014 olive harvest, we recommend the following clicks:

New York Times: Amid bugs, hail, floods…

Los Angeles Times: Europe Suffers Olive Oil Disaster

NPR: Olive Oil Producers in Crisis

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Introducing Ruine…

Ruine_DOP_Cilento

Ruine 2013 Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes to us with the most colorful label we have seen. It is the first, striking, indication of the lively, fresh oil in the amphora bottle.

Produced in Cilento, in Campania, two hours south of the beautiful Amalfi coast. The olive trees have been growing on these hills since ancient Napoli (oldest city in Italy) near and around the town of Pisciotta. The local olive, “Pisciottana” is the primary olive of the blend, grown in the special “Ruine” soil. The olive and the land are indigenous to Parco Nationale del Cilento. Pisciotta is surrounded by 60 other typical little towns and villages (Paesi) each with their unique traditions and specialty food(s).

Ruine olive oil has received the D.O.P. Cilento mark and it is recognized by the European community.

This superior oil is emerald and brilliant coppery with aromatic notes of a fruity, medium intensity with fresh herbal notes that blend well with a deep but very elegant feeling on the palate, along with the spiciness and peppery notes typical of the Italian land and of these Mediterranean latitudes.

Local cuisine includes foods that are just perfect with the local oil, as you would expect. Local vegetables, meats, cheeses, and wine fill the tables, along with, figs, and prickly pears, which all add to fabulous and delicious treats.

Varieties: Pisciottana (primary 75%), Ogliarola, Frantoiana & Rotondella.
Total acidity: 0.29% expressed in oleic acid
Total polyphenols: 566 mg/kg
To join our Olive Oil of the Month Club, just click here to send us an email.

New2014

With the arrivals of the new harvest olive oils comes the first of the new awards and recognitions for high quality extra virgin olive oil.

The 2014 Flos Olei, published early in the harvest year, is the well regarded Marco Oreggia review of olive oils. In general, Flos Olei 2014 awarded the 2012 harvest selections. It is seen by many as a watchdog of consistent quality in the industry with the idea that the recognized producers provide consistently exceptional olive oils from year to year. You can see last year’s list here.

In the 2014 edition, Flos Olei’s Top 20 awards three of the olive oils we regularly carry. Most notably, we already have Quattrociocchi’s Olivastro Bio 2013, awarded Best Olive Oil from Organic Farming by Flos Olei’s Marco Orreggia.

From the Top 20

Farm of the Year: DeCarlo (new harvest coming soon)

Best Olive Oil from Organic Farming: Quattrociocchi Olivastro Bio 2013

Best Extra Virgin Intensely FruityFrantoio Franci Villa Magra

The Flos Olei guide lists an abundance of well-regarded olive oil producers (we will carry harvest 2013 selections – they are in stock or on order):

Trentino Alto – Adige

Frantoio di Riva, 2013 in stock!

Emilia Romagna

Tenuta Pennita, Alina in stock

Toscana

Tenuta di Capezzana, 2013 in stock

Oliveto Fonte di Foiano, samplers in stock, more expected in early January

Frantoio Franci, selections

La Poderina Toscana, Oro and Argento in stock

Fattoria di Monti, three selections in stock

Fattoria Ramerino, Guadagnòlo Primus in stock!

Marche

Azienda del Carmine, arriving January 2014

Umbria

Az. Agr. Marfuga, L’affiorante in stock

Lazio

Società Agricola Colli Etruschi, arriving soon

Az Agr Bio Americo Quattrociocchi, in stock

Campania

Madonna dell’Olivo, Raro and Itrans selections available

Puglia

Az. Agr. DeCarlo, restocking soon

Calabria

Tenute Pasquale Librandi, selections arriving January 2014

Sicily

Azienda Agricola Antonino Centonze, Arriving January 2014

Frantoi Cutrera, in stock

Planeta, selections available

Azienda Agricola Ravida, selections available

Azienda Agricola Biologica Titone, 2013 coming soon!

Colatura di Alici from IASA

It could be said that anchovies are polarizing – in a love them or hate them gastronomic way. Yet, anchovies and anchovy sauce are all the rage. National “news” publications: The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal have all covered this flavor sensation.

Anchovies are often added to pasta or vegetables in the southern lands of Italy. A classic preparation includes vegetables sautéed in olive oil, garlic, and dissolved anchovies. Or garlic, anchovies, capers, and a dash of spicy red pepper! With IASA Colatura di Alici, you can sneak in a bit of anchovy flavor without stocking anchovies in the kitchen. That’s the way some of us have been known to train the palates of family members! Also known as Garum, this fish sauce, Colatura di Alici adds that quick hit of umani — that hard to describe “extra” flavor sensation.

Colatura di Alici is a product of authenticity and tradition from Cetara, near Salerno in Campania. To watch a video on how the artisans create Colatura di Alici from Cetara in Campania, click this link.

Here’s a review of notable recent writing on Anchovies and Colatura di Alici (Anchovy Sauce).

Chicago Tribune Article on Venice includes references to Colatura di Alici on the Cicchetti of Venice

SFGate’s restaurant review of A16 delves into the menu: “roasted broccoli with Calabrian chiles and colatura di alici, a traditional Campanian condiment made of anchovy”

Ready for a midnight – or midafternoon snack? Stock up on good butter and good bread before viewing this New York Times video on Anchovies!

A recent edition of the LA Times features Nancy  Silverton’s Master Class on Anchovies.

We are re-sharing our friend, Vincent Scordo’s, review of Colatura di Alici and our own post, Acquired Tastes?

Here’s a fresh recipe from Elizabeth Minchilli’s beautiful blog: Pasta with Zucchini and Colatura.

Enjoy this video of Mimmo Corcione’s pasta dish with fried zucchini, sauteed spinach and spaghetti with Colatura: Spaghetti con Zucchine Fritte e Colatura di Alici di Cetara.

Ready to purchase Colatura di Alici — or Spicy Anchovies? Start here.

SlowFood2013

Slow Food 2013 has just been released and we have a copy that is fresh off the press (just like great olive oil)!

The guide carries notations on 1131 quality olive oils from 772 notable producers in Italy.

LE CHIOCCIOLE (The Snail): best representation of the values and qualities of Slow Food.

The following abundant selections are in stock at Olio2go.com!

Emilia Romagna

Tenuta Pennita

Lazio

Colli Etruschi

Sicily

Titone

Gli Olio Slow: representing quality cultivation, sustainable practices, and good value for oils from the named region.

Lazio

Olivastro, Quattrociocchi

Grand Oli: excellence in respective category for organoleptic quality, adherence to the territory customs, and native cultivars

Campania, Madonna dell’Oliva, Raro

Emilia Romagna, Alina from La Pennita

Puglia, Torre di Mossa from DeCarlo

Sicily, Titone DOP

Toscana, Ramerino Dulcis

Toscana, Fonte di Foiano Gran Cru

Toscana, Fonte di Foiano, Frantoio Monocultivar

Toscana, Frantoio Franci, Villa Magra Gran Cru

Noted Estates

Trentino Alto-Adige, Agraria Riva del Garda

Emilia-Romagna,  Tenuta Pennita

Toscano, Fattoria Ramerino, Primus e Dulcis

Toscano, Tenuta di Capezzana

Toscano, Fonte di Foiano

Toscano, Frantoio Franci

Toscano, La Poderina Toscana

Toscano, Frescobaldi

Toscano, Conte Ferdinando Guicciardini, Poppiano, Laudemio

Toscano, Fattoria di Monti, Razzo, Monti

Umbria, Marfuga

Lazio, Americo Quattrociocchi

Lazio, Colli Etruschi

Abruzzo, La Quagliera

Campania, Madonna dell’Olivo, Raro, Itrans

Puglia, De Carlo

Sicilia, Centonze

Sicilia, Frantoi Cutrera

Sicilia, Villa Zottopera

Sicilia, Planeta

Sicilia, Titone

Sardegna, Sebastiano Fadda

For the full list of Slow Food – recognized olive oils currently in stock at Olio2go, click here.

(updated 4 June 2013)

Awards1_cc

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

 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!