More About First Oil and How You Can Get Some!
I realize that I did not explain as much as I should have about why the first oil (nuovo) is so exciting. When olives are first pressed, the oil really does have the very best flavor then. There is this peppery bite, that I think, is just the best.
A small aside. Occasionally, we have guests who express dismay that every restaurant here in Tuscany does not, like every Olive Garden in America does, immediately set down a bottle of olive oil and bread when a guest sits down at the table. WHY???? Because in a few months from now that special quality of the ‘newness’, ‘the peppery bite’ of the olive oil will have diminished. Now is the time that you might be presented with a bottle of oil and some bread because it is the ‘new’ oil and the absolute best and the restaurant owner is very, very proud. It really ain’t gonna happen in June, July or August.
Off the soap box now. This year, there have not been as many olives here in our part of Tuscany. In the spring, there was a late frost that hurt some trees and a total lack of rain that hurt many trees. Our friends, George and Jules, whom I normally help by picking olives, did not even need me. So this year I had time to volunteer to help friends Tania and Keith when they were bottling the olive oil that they export. Most of the bottling is done by machine. The labels are put on by hand. The very interesting bottle that they have selected, is round at the top but square at the bottom. So if you are trying to place the label by just eye-balling it, chances are that either Keith or Tania won’t like your work. And Tania’s very bright father figured that out and made a great ‘jig’ to guide the label placement.
It really does look like something my father would have made. So these are the guidelines for the front of the bottle. Then it is just flipped over and moved to the other side of the ‘jig’ for the back label.
Waiting to be boxed. (I did the little neck labels at the top)
And here are Tania and Keith, very proudly showing the latest in their product line.
Small bottles, designed to be samplers, or to be taken into restaurants instead of the nasty stuff that you might be offered.
The new oil is great this year, even if there is not a lot of it. Here is their site when ever you are ready to order.
When it arrives, get some good bread, a nice wine, set aside some time when you won’t be harassed, sit down and enjoy it. Taste the hot summer sun, gentle breezes and soft rains of Tuscany. It’s all there. You just have to savor and taste and then plan your trip here for this time next year!