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 !

Advertisements

This stunning group of extra virgin olive oils represents the best new olive oils available this week. These have just arrived from Italy and are now available at Olio2go to grace your table.

Which brings us to a funny point. Do you know that a fair number of  Americans don’t recognize fresh olive oil?

News from UCDavis says that qualities favored by expert testers (called assagiatori in Italy) are not the same as those recognized by consumers. Those consumers seem to prefer characteristics tending toward rancidity. (Is that grocery store familiarity?) To us, this is a significant concern.

If you are hosting a tasting party for your friends, let us know when you place your order. We’ll be happy to include disposable tasting cups for your party. Share the joy of astoundingly good olive oil!

Left to Right, the oils are:  Crudo (Puglia), Olivarte (Lazio), Frantoio di Sommaia (Tuscany), Titone Organic DOP Valli Trapanesi (Sicily), Castello di Volapaia Organic (Tuscany), Frescobaldi Laudemio (Tuscany), and Olio Verde al Limone (Sicily). You can see them all right here on one page.

Selections from Lazio and Abruzzo

Merlano DOP, Muraccio, Trappetto di Caprifico DOP Organic, and Olio Sapora Organic

We have found tremendous unsung heros in the olive oil world in the regions of Lazio and Abruzzo. While Lazio may be well-known as the region of Rome, the region’s olive oils do not have the cachet of those from Tuscany or Sicily. Abruzzo is a less-traveled area, and so there are fewer tourists seeking to reclaim memories of their trips.

You are missing something if you haven’t tried an olive oil from Lazio or Abruzzo. Together the two regions span the mid-section from the Mediterranean to the Adriatic.

For traditional recipes from Abruzzi and Lazio, we like the ItalianMade site from the Italian Trade Commission.

Tenuta di Ferento has a Facebook page, and you can “like” them here. A full selection of Tenuta di Ferento’s products may be purchased on the Olio2go web site.

 

 

A month after Jeff and his family spent time in Emilia Romagna, Luanne and her daughter spent a week in Rome with one journey through Lazio to the Umbrian countryside.

As travelers who like to cook, we rented an apartment adjacent to both! Piazza Farnese and Campo dei Fiori. The location was perfect, as long as we didn’t mind 55 steps to the door. Having previously rented an apartment in Florence, we were quite comfortable with the process of renting an apartment in Rome.  It’s hard to leave some American habits behind! The apartment allowed us to enjoy the bounty of the daily market at Campo dei Fiori and to make small purchases at the nearby grocery stores—and to nibble when we wanted to until our bodies settled into a Roman schedule.

Rome is very walkable, especially with the right shoes! (Thank you to Merrill for great sandals). We arrived on a Tuesday, which  remarkably was a Holy Day honoring Saints Peter and Paul. It was quieter than a Sunday and it felt like it was a special day just for us. In an effort to keep moving (and to fend off jet lag) we walked to many of the “importante” sites. After buying our first bag of groceries, we set off on foot, and visited Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Piazza del Popolo, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain, all before dinner. We were so enthralled by these magical places that we wanted to see them all!

Our memorable meals include dinner at Pierluigi  and Armando al Pantheon. Alas, I cannot find the name of the lovely café in Trastevere where we enjoyed fresh, crispy salads at midday. Our kitchen was put to use with food selections from Campo dei Fiori and nearby grocers, but perhaps the best meal was the San Daniele Prosciutto Crudo. Of course, we had other food at that meal, but truly, the best prosciutto makes a singularly perfect meal.

Each day the city became more crowded and the heat more intense. We were often too hot to eat. How hot? In the low 90s. (Check today’s weather here). To better enjoy every offering we plan to return to Rome when the weather is crisper. In cooler weather one is more inclined to dive deeply into spicy pasta or filling meats. As the weather was hot, we selected simply prepared foods, preferably chilled. In the end no day was complete without gelato.

One very special evening was spent with Gioia, Giuseppe, and Domina, of the family that brings us Principe di Mascio DOP Colli Assisi-Spoleto Extra Virgin Olive Oil. (At Olio2go, we love this oil!) We were treated to an out-of-this-world meal on the terrace of their home in the hills of Monte Mario. They have a marvelous cook who prepared platter after platter of their family’s favorites. My only wish was to know what was coming next in order to adjust my appetite. The highlights were abundant — fettuccine with mushrooms and peas, roasted tomatoes stuffed with seasoned rice, a rolled meat, a platter with mozzarella, arugula, and bresaola (dried beef). Another platter held marinated beets, delectable mushrooms. As the dinner drew to a close, dessert was arrived with a spectacular fennel salad. This recipe for Fennel and Celery Salad from the New York Times’ Mark Bittman is a close approximation. Other selections included brought forth with a pineapple tart and a platter of photo-perfect fresh fruit, including golden-orange apricots and deep, dark cherries. They explained that the fruit is often brought to the table with a side bowl for washing the selections. Later, we took a grand tour by car of their favorite views of Rome. We can’t thank them enough for the wonderful evening.

Monte Mario is the highest hill of Rome and the community reminds one of Fiesole near Florence or La Jolla near San Diego. The homes are beautiful and the grounds are abundantly planted with trees and flowers.  Domina has recently studied in the United States and we enjoyed being able to discuss her observations of life in the U.S. We hope that she comes back to the States for college!

To learn the most at the most historic site, we booked two tours. The first was a Vatican Museums tour with Presto Tours. Our guide, Ryan, brought true excitement to the art and wove many stories about the famous rooms  and their onetime guests. We would refrain from recommending Vastours – our tour at the Colosseum. Our guide was hot and tired (as we all were) and her comments were flat.  At one point, after she left us behind at the gate she begrudgingly “recovered” us. Our fellow tourists seemed to share our disappointment in the tour guide. We were all a bit steamy! The approach of a dramatic thunderstorm and a Gay Pride parade changed the tedious tenor of the tour and gave us all something more to chat about.  

On Friday, we took the train to Orvieto, a beautiful hill town in Umbria, just a one hour and 20 minutes by train from Rome’s Termini station. (It was very easy to buy the train tickets from the machines in the station. We had previously printed a couple of possible itineraries, so we only had to match the data). We had hoped to ride Oriveto’s famed funicular up the steep slopes to the historic town, but it was not running. From the same station we took the local bus, traversing the steep hillside, to the Piazza del Duomo in the heart of Orvieto. The church is heavily ornate on the outside and somewhat simpler on the inside.  The horizontal striped marble is reminiscent of the Duomo in Siena. Be sure to give a close look–to the right of the altar, there is a small chapel with brilliantly colorful frescos by Luca Signorelli. The best pictures of the chapel can be seen here. For more reading on Orvieto, begin with this New York Times piece.

This hill town is filled with charming winding, narrow passageways and friendly shopkeepers. Remarkably none of the crowds of Rome had found their way to Orvieto that day. We greatly enjoyed a day out of Rome, and wandering the passageways, in search of the perfect piece of pottery and a delightful lunch.   

We’ve often found the “international experiences” add such color to our trips.  About an hour into the return train ride from Orvieto to Rome, there was an announcement – spoken only in Italian. This was unusual as each of the prior announcements had been in Italian followed by English. Our kind compartment-mates let us know that the train was no longer stopping at Termini on the way to Naples. Those riders destined for Termini were to exit at Tiburtina. What made this especially entertaining is that our compartment-mates didn’t speak English. One gentleman quickly snatched my ticket and confirmed our destination. We were advised to exit right away.  A few minutes later, on the platform at Tiburtina, several other travelers asked our advice. With no bags other than purses we must have looked authentically Italian!

Our week in Rome crossed from the end of June to the beginning of July. We fed our wandering spirits well, and wish to return  (but) in cooler weather. As our week there progressed, the city became increasingly crowded with tourists while the stone buildings seemed to hold the more intense heat. We especially loved the apartment and neighborhood, and the magic of the nights in Rome.

Recipe, Swiss Chard with Balsamic Vinegar

Swiss chard with Balsamic

Surfing the web for divine recipes, we found this lovely combination of Swiss chard, garlic, pine nuts, and balsamic vinegar. Even better, the blog is known as TasteSpotting, and they found this recipe on yet another blog, originating in a Martha Stewart cookbook.

Nonetheless with excellent olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Olio2go, this is noteworthy!  This will become a regular contorno (vegetable side dish) in our cucina! Kudos to Tastespotting for a great recipe. Any of the Villa Manodori selections will be great with this.

Swiss chard with basil and pine nuts is a traditional dish from Lazio. While spinach and chard can be used interchangeably, chard is a bit sweeter.
Villa Cappelli Olio Santo

A lovely chile infused exttra virgin olive oil

We were mentioned today in the Washington Post Express Night Out.  Unfortunately, they didn’t mention the great products we sent for review! 

We sent Muraccio Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Lazio, as well as Olio Santo extra virgin olive oil from Villa Cappelli in Puglia, and the Canonica Verde Umbrian Spice Blend, from a producer based in Umbria.  For the article, we suggested the Muraccio combined with the Umbrian Spice Blend, and also featured the Villa Cappelli Olio Santo, as a beautiful example of an infused oil, ready for dipping. At least you now know.

And, let us know if you agree with the first sentence of the article! (Hint: We think you can).

Merlano DOP Tuscia, Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Lazio

Merlano DOP Tuscia, Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Lazio

Excellent olive oil truly has the capacity to hold its flavor. I’ve been preparing food at home this week with Merlano DOP Tuscia. It does carry a best by date of 23 May 2009 (it’s on Olio2go’s Sale page), but wow, it still works in my kitchen! On Monday, we needed a quick snack so I drained a can of ceci beans (garbanzos to the rest of you), dumped them in the Cuisinart, added a clove of garlic and a squeeze of lemon–and a healthy splash of Merlano. Thirty seconds later, we had a wonderful “hummus”. Perfect with some crusty bread, and a wonderful appetizer before heading out for the evening.

Syrenum DOP Penisola Sorrentina, Sorrento, Campania

Syrenum DOP Penisola Sorrentina, Sorrento, Campania

Last night I took home a bottle of our new Syrenum DOP Penisola Sorrentina, from Sorrento in Campania. This oil is rather “lusty” — what would an assiagiatore call it? The olives were harvested at a riper stage than one might in the north, and it also had a surprising and pleasant bitter element. If you have memories of Sorrento and Capri, this is the bottle to grab. Very nice when drizzled over pasta primavera — with garlic, tomatoes, basil, and olives.