Tuscan Olive Oil – Olio Nuovo
I freely admit it… I am addicted to olive oil. I have always enjoyed it, and while others have their addiction to butter (which I am sorry to say I don’t understand) my love affair is with olive oil. After living in Italy for 5 years, who could blame me? Some people love the Bistecca alla Fiorentina, some are crazy about gelato, but personally… olive oil. Period.
On my most recent trip to Florence, I happened to be there for the gathering of olives and the pressing of olio nuovo which literally means “new oil”. A few of the vendors had just pressed their oil the day before the market and it was delicious! They all put out their cold-pressed extra virgin oils for the tasting and you can compare and choose which is your favorite.
Have you ever had olio nuovo? It is not the plain jane olive oil that we get in the States! That is for sure! L’olio nuovo has a bite to it…it is peppery and has a beautiful green color as you can see in the first photo on this page. As you traverse the markets of Florence, sampling the oils on plain Tuscan bread (or with a spoon) you are treated to a completely new experience. You quickly become a connoisseur, recognizing the sweet versus the bitter, and the oils that bite you back!
After tasting about 10 different oils, my final choice was the extra virgin cold pressed olive oil by San Leo (Azienda Agraria San Leo di Bonechi). It was a tough competition because many of the choices were amazing, but I also had to consider transporting this oil home with me since you can no longer bring it in a carry-on… Thanks TSA!
Now I am home, pouring oil on everything! I love it on my gluten-free toast with tomatoes, salt and pepper…basically the toast is just to transport the oil. It seasons homemade gluten-free pizzas after they come out of the oven, and it is a final addition to cooked greens, just to name a few ideas. I will be sorry when this oil runs out and would love to hear about your favorite brands of oil. Any suggestions on a great one to try in the States? So far I enjoy Napa Valley Naturals and Lucini. I would love some ideas of other great oils to try… Drop me a comment if you have a favorite.