Olio Nuovo è arrivato

This week we received our annual shipment of Olio Nuovo from Italy.  Olio Nuovo is the fresh new olive oil of the season, pressed just a few weeks ago between mid-October and Thanksgiving.  This super fresh oil is quite intense, a little cloudy, bold and peppery.

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In the northern hemisphere olive harvests happen in autumn, typically sometime between late September and December.  If you live here in the San Francisco Bay Area you may have noticed folks harvesting olives in the parks and along the sidewalks as olive trees have become more popular as foliage here over the years.  So each year as the year comes to a close the fresh oil is pressed and stored for shipment later in the new year. Typically we start to see the new season oils in the late spring and early summer of the next year. This time is necessary for the oil to settle and mellow a bit, and for the previous years oil to sell through.  Often the oil may be filtered and either bottled or kept in the tank until time for packaging and shipment.

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Olio Nuovo is not allowed to sit and mellow.  It is the freshest, brightest expression of the olive fruit; unfiltered, cloudy, with bits of olives and leaves, and bursting with flavor and aroma.  Olio Nuovo is meant to be consumed quickly, and if you lived in Italy you might pour it over everything for the next couple of months – raw veggies, slow cooked beans, grilled meats, mozzarella, ice cream, pasta, and toasted bread with a pinch of salt.

We have 3 Olio Nuovi from Italy this year:

Tenuta de Capezzana from Tuscany – Beautiful lime green color, scents of green apples and fresh-cut grass. Lovely, velvety texture with a very full, clean flavor of olives, green tea and a delightful peppery finish. A mouthful.

Filippo Contini Bonacossi comments on the 2012 Capezzana Harvest:  “I am very satisfied with the quality of this year’s oil; it has not been this good in years!  The olives appear beautiful, with good pulp, and a level of anticipated maturation, in fact, the ripening began in early October”.

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Olio Verde from Sicily (made from San Francisco’s favorite Castelvetrano Olive) – Dark olive, sage leaf, almost military green color with strong golden highlights, full of Sicilian sunshine. Rich notes of freshly cut grass, artichokes, tomato skin and aromas of banana peel. Strong olive fruit and white pepper flavors. Rich, velvety texture enfolds a well-balanced spiciness which kicks back at the end. OUR BEST VALUE!

Frescobaldi Laudemio from Tuscany – Absynthe, vibrant esmerald deep green.  Rich aromas of artichoke, leafy greens, asparagus and black pepper, as when present in a frantoio when the oil is being pressed. Flavors of freshly sliced artichokes with a noticeable bitter spicy finish typical of Tuscany which will awaken all your tastebuds. 

Lamberto Frescobaldi says about the 2012 harvest: 2012: what a great year for Laudemio! I don’t recall such a vibrant, rich aromatic Laudemio . For our great wines, we look for low yields instead for a great Laudemio we hope for a generous crop of olives . The reason is simple: a considerable amount of olives makes them mature more slowly and remain smaller, thus the aromas are more concentrate and the colour is greener.  We had the right amount of rain in Spring and early Summer, then a terrifically hot dry summer. From October onwards we monitored the olives and we started picking on the 20th, almost the same date as of last 3 years. Picking and pressing within few hours is one of the secrets of our quality.

A side note…  About 10 years ago I was in Italy with a group of friends staying in an old farmhouse on the Capezzana property situated between olive trees and vineyards near Carmignano, outside Firenze.  One morning I awoke to the sound of tractors and excited Italians – the olive harvest was happening outside my window.  I watched as multiple generations of the family spread out large nets below the trees, and shook the trees vigorously forcing the olives to fall to the ground.  I thought to myself simultaneously – wow, how cool, and oh boy, that’s a lot of work!  Unfortunately, it was our last day in Italy and I never had an opportunity to know more about those olives… I always think of that day when we receive our Nuovo Olio.

Now’s the time to get a bottle of Olio Nuovo as we will sell out quickly.  The Frescobaldi Laudemio comes in a nice gift box perfect as a stocking stuffer!

Il Nuovo Olio d’Oliva è Arrivato!

The new Olive Oil harvest has arrived at Cheese Plus

Recently we featured fresh and lively Beaujolais Nouveau wine from France – the young, just pressed and fermented first wine of the season.  Today I’m going to introduce you to Olio Nuovo d’Oliva – the first pressed Olive Oil of the season, which has just arrived at Cheese Plus.

Olives ripen and mature late in the year, and are typically harvested in late autumn.  To celebrate the harvest, the freshly pressed olive oil is made available on a limited basis.  More typically the olive oil that was harvested and produced just 3 – 6 weeks ago is allowed to settle and mellow; waiting for shipment to the market sometime in the springtime of the new year.  So most of the oil available today was actually harvested in the late autumn of 2007.

The Olio Nuovo (or Novello as it’s known in Southern Italy) is vibrant green in color, with a thick silky texture, and the unmistakable aroma of freshly cut grass; and spicy black pepper, sweet fennel, bright green apple, artichoke and olive leaf flavors.  Olio Nouvo is the most intense and full flavored olive oil available.   Pour this green elixir over your best bread – I like the Acme Bakery Long Italian loaf or their not-so-well-known Upstairs Bread we offer.  For cooking I recommend serving this as a finishing oil on flavorful cold weather roasts, risotto, pasta, and green vegetables.

We have a very limited supply of Olio Nuovo d’Oliva from Capezzana and Laudemio (Tuscany), and Olio Verde (Sicily), so call us today to secure your bottles.  And remember – Olio Nuovo is a great holiday gift for any foodie on your list!