For all of the fans of our Olio Novello, it has finally arrived. This much heralded olive oil arrived the day after the snow and ice storm this week, safe and sound from its arrival at the airport and follow-up trip to us in Northampton.
What began years ago as the addition of few modest cases of early-harvest oil to our already busting-at-the-seams holiday inventory has turned into a seasonal ‘must have’ for our customers. Olio Novello is a limited quantity, early release, first-pressed, new harvest extra virgin olive oil that is a taste enthusiast’s dream. Early release olive oils are not easy to find in the USA but devotees of them have been known to hunt relentlessly to find them.
Look no further, you have found a splendid one. Our Olio Novello is a delicious, lip-smacking blend of Nocellara, Biancolilla and Ogliarola olives that are grown in the countryside outside of the city of Palermo. It is true novello oil, meaning that the oil is obtained from the first pressing of early harvest olives and bottled quickly and released for sale. ( Generally, freshly pressed olive oil is decanted, allowed to sit in holding tanks to ‘rest’ for two to three months before being bottled for sale.)
Novello oils have an authentic, rustic flavor and an old-world appearance, due to the fact that the oil is un-filtered. Our Olio Novello is deep green in color, sharply-defined and seriously fruity. It has a grassy, spicy flavor and an aroma reminiscent of tomato stem, celery and fennel.
Style: UNFILTERED, robust, assertive and grassy
Price: UNCHANGED from last year: $30.00 for a liter bottle
Here in New England, March brings late winter greens to the market. And citrus fruits at their glorious peak of flavor and color from warm weather places. It’s time to put away the braising pans and dutch ovens and replace our winter meals with transitional dishes that are lighter, more seasonal in flavor and more colorful. Think braised leeks, grapefruit mousse, orange and black olive salad, pancakes with fresh maple syrup, shad roe with black butter, rapini with penne and parmesan, and arugula and goat cheese salads.
Jazz up your pantry items and kick-start your taste buds as well. Begin with the just-released, new harvest Meyer Lemon Oil from our friends Kim and Albert Katz of Katz & Co. Meyer lemons have a superb flavor that is milder, but more complex than our everyday lemons – a cross between a tangerine and a lemon might begin to get the idea across. Katz & Co Meyer lemon has a gorgeous, delicate but persistent citrus aroma and flavor, and yes, the flavor of the olive oil comes through with a nice, fresh ‘bite’. I find hints of green herbs in the aroma even though none have been added.
You will reach for this oil again and again. Use it with vegetable dishes, grilled or broiled fish, and to adorn a simple but perfect baby spinach salad – it’s a taste of spring and the American Mediterranean ( California ) in a bottle.