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Three Olive Oils: Xertoli Coupage, My Olive Tree, La Bandiera Toscano

Three Olive Oils: Xertoli Coupage, My Olive Tree, La Bandiera Toscano

Last month Tim tackled the biggest question on many olive oil consumers’ minds – guaranteeing authenticity in the face of fraud. While some may be tempted to solve this problem by swearing off certain countries of production, Tim argued that the key to finding great olive oil is finding a source you can trust. As we have experienced in our search for the best products for our shops, there are excellent, fair, and yes, fraudulent olive oils in all olive growing regions. It is only by knowing the producer and building trust with them that we can guaranteeing an excellent oil every time.

With that in mind, and as somewhat of an olive oil novice myself, I took it upon myself to taste through a few of our favorite olive oils, settling on three producers from three different countries representing some of the best oils Europe has to offer.

 

SPAIN: Xertoli Coupage

One of the first oils Tim recommended to me, this Spanish olive oil from Catalonia is made from olives grown on trees ranging from 100 to 1000 years old in the Baix Ebre-Monsià region, some of the first ever Catalonian olive groves. The blend features three local Spanish olive varieties – Sevillenca, Farga, and Morruda. The aromatic Morruda olives blend well with the more standard Sevillenca olives, a variety that is also popular locally eaten green, tossed in salad. This sweet, fruity olive oil is rounded out by Farga olives, which were brought into Spain by the Arabs during the Middle Ages. Hints of apple and the sharp, bright flavor of green almonds, I found it to be a wonderfully light finishing oil for any Mediterranean-inspired dish.

 

GREECE: My Olive Tree

Representing Greece, this olive oil is produced by the Karelas family in the small town of Karpofora in Messinia. Their family has been growing the small, highly prized Greek Koroneiki olives for oil, as well as Kalamata olives for eating, in their groves for five generations. The full-flavored Koroneiki olives yield a beautifully smooth, almost buttery oil with a peppery kick. I found it balanced and fruity in the middle with a pleasingly astringent finish, well deserving of its 2014 Gold award at the New York International Olive Oil Competition!

 

ITALY: La Bandiera Toscano

This Italian olive oil is produced on a privately owned estate near Bolgheri, a small medieval village in Tuscany with olive groves dating back around 1000 years. Tuscan oils are highly sought after for their density of flavor, a result of harvesting the olives young, before winter frosts set in. La Bandiera uses three iconically pungent Tuscan olive varieties harvested just as they begin to ripen – fruity Moriaolo olives, the milder Leccino olives, and lightly grassy Frantonio olives. After harvesting and pressing each variety separately, they then expertly blend the oils to minimize acidity, yielding a beautifully sweet, smooth oil.

 

Rob Campbell is a culinary adventurer, world traveler, science geek, and also the blog manager at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.

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A selection of our olive oilsI’ve been thinking a lot about olive oil recently. I buy the olive oil for our shop and each time I consider a new oil, I taste it with several other buyers to determine its quality and its potential fit into our selection. In addition to my buying responsibilities, I’ve been reading several recent articles about the scandalous world of big olive oil, evidently full of graft and corruption. Tom Mueller’s 2011 book Extra Virginity shines a light on the history, problems and some of the worst (or at least most suspect) and best producers of olive oil. Considering all of this turmoil surrounding olive oil, I encourage you to experience the revelation of tasting truly exceptional olive oil. (more…)

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Here are some posts and articles related to food and drink worth a read from various sources on the web:

  • The Truth on Olive Oil Health – a post from Tom Mueller about Dr. Mary Flynn and her work to “…start separating the wheat from the chaff in olive oil health, by building a canon of solid scientific information, and debugging a number of widespread olive oil misconceptions.”
  • How to Eat a Porcupine – not only one of the best post titles but a beautifully written travelogue about the emotional progression of eating bushmeat in a foreign land. (more…)

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Tyler

Many of you may be familiar with Tyler as part of the two-man team behind our BBQ grill this past summer. Some of you may also know him as an instructor in our classroom where he teaches classes such as “Cheese 101″ or “Brave the Caves.” Not many though, will be familiar with his behind-the-scenes role as Cave Manager. On a weekly basis, Tyler maintains the cheeses in our caves – flipping them, rubbing them down to get rid of excess mold or cheese mites and patching cracks as needed (among many other tasks). This is no mean feat when you are handling 80-100lb. wheels of Comté, Gouda, Gruyère, cheddar and Parmigiano Reggiano! (more…)

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Tripp

Many of you may know Tripp as the jolly presence behind our BBQ grill this past summer. Others may be familiar with his stellar work on the cheese counter and in developing our domestic cheese program.

Tripp grew up in apple country – namely, Harvard, MA. He crossed the country to attend the University of Montana and, returning to New England after college, Tripp’s passion for food (particularly cheese) and his curiosity to learn more about food production brought him to Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge. (more…)

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