This is the first of a series of posts featuring food products I'm loving at the moment and since I love you so much, loyal readers, I would like to share these "luvs" with you. When there is something I want to share it will appear in a post with the tag line "Lemon Luvs".
For 3 seasons now, I've waited for February, or March in this year, with anticipation. That is when "my olive oil" arrives. From Italy. Its not just for me, of course, but somehow it feels like it. I send an email to my "source", some time in November or December, order a few liters, check in once in awhile for the state of the harvest, and wait. Once it makes its long journey across the ocean pick it up.
These are the kinds of direct source purchases I love to make. Whether its buying organic tomatoes from my favourite farmer at my local market, or picking up cheese at its farm on Salt Spring Island, bringing home wine from a B&B in Provence or getting good olive oil from a lovely mother daughter team in Vancouver, the sense of connection you get from purchasing direct is always fulfilling for me.
Amelia oil is a mother daughter team who started their business after being frustrated by the lack of fresh olive oil available to them. Rachel and Rebecca Black noticed high priced, premium olive oils on the shelves of gourmet stores that had no indication of its production date. Since olive oil has a very short shelf life and goes rancid usually after less than 2 years, the time of production is an important piece of information, especially when you are paying $25+ for olive oil. Rachel had been living in Italy in a small village of Amelia in Umbria and had been accustomed to the freshest olive oil around, bringing it home to friends and family. So as someone obviously passionate about a quality produced product and wanting to make it available to a wider number of people, they got together with local farmers in Amelia, Italy and Amelia Oil was born.
Olive oils of Umbria are known for their peppery, green notes and this oil is no exception. It is a big flavoured oil, full of character and bite. When I taste neat I'm amazed by the peppery finish and stays with you. I love it drizzled over a warm bowl of bean soup, in vinaigrettes it adds tremendous flavour to a boring plate of greens, and used to saute a couple pounds of onions for an onion pizza, it transforms. Not mention simple olive oil pastas and drizzled over fresh from the oven pizza. For me, this is my special oil, so I don't use it liberally in every cooking application, but usually in any recipe where I know the taste of it will shine through. But mostly that's just a cost cutting measure, so feel free to drizzle away.
Each simple green tin states clearly the year of olives crop and the year of oil. Since olives are picked at the end of the year, before Christmas, the oil is generally pressed and produced after the holidays in the following year, which is why a 2009 oil is really from 2008 fruit.This fact is clearly stated on the label.
If you would like to try some of this spectacular olive oil, please contact Amelia Oil. They have a variety of sizes available and do mail order within Canada and shortly within the US I believe. If you live in the Vancouver area, it is available at Sebastian and Co Meats in West Vancouver. Be sure to look for the 2009 oil as it is the freshness and the one to splurge on now.