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Yesterday our staff did a guided tasting of our new Private Label Olive Oil. We have partnered with Gourmet Cooking and Living, a business who’s owners travel extensively in Italy and Europe to find products to share with their customers as a part of Tasting Clubs. By featuring one product per month, they are able to work exclusively with farmers and artisans who are truly small and will not sacrifice the quality of their product by expanding.
We knew that this would be a great way to find a private label olive oil that we loved and wanted to support. A few months ago, Jennifer from Gourmet Cooking and Living allowed us to taste a number of oils from small olive growers, and told us the history of the land, the farmers, and the way that each oil was produced. The variety in colors, flavor profiles, and stories was astounding.
As a team, we fell hard and fast for sustainably grown and harvested F.A.M. Irpina Colline Dell’Ufita, a single estate Olive Oil from Venticano, Italy. The oil has a beautiful golden yellow hue, with bright green undertones. We were taught how to taste the oil properly: from a small plastic cup, warmed by covering with your hands and swirling for a few moments. The warmed oil “opens” like wine, allowing you to clearly smell the complexity of the oil. We then all took small sips of the oil from the cup, and made a somewhat rude sounding slurping sound, which further opens up the flavor profile and aroma.
Its taste is bright and fruity, with the scent of freshly cut grass. The slurping really highlights the intensity of the peppery flavor, which is very reminiscent of tomato vines. Jennifer explained that pepperiness indicates the freshness of an oil – our oil is from the first pressing and is only slightly filtered.
One of the most exciting things we learned about our oil is how healthy it is in comparison to others. Olive Oils are usually assessed based their amount of polyphenols, which indicate the amount of antioxidants present. A normal olive oil has 300 mg/kg polyphenols; a great olive oil has 500 mg/kg polyphenols. Our private label oil has 640 mg/kg!
Don’t just take our word for how fantastic our oil is – it’s also award-winning: Three Olives and Label from Slow Food, Two Leaves from Gambero Rosso, Best Bio Olive Mill (for organic production), and finally the 2012 First Place for the Intense Fruity category at the SOL of Verona.