Ari Zingerman’s Gift Guide: Il Tratturello Olive Oil

We looove reading what Ari Zingerman has to say about our products, so we’re pretty thrilled our Il Tratturello EVOO made the Zingerman holiday gift guide! In fact, Il Tratturello is Ari’s number one gift for the “aspiring chef”. We totally agree, just a few drops of this neon-green flavor bomb will transform the way you think about and use olive oil.

Ari’s ode to one of our favorite EVOO’s is an absolute delight, check it out below:

Bold Green Oil from the Molise

If you love intense, peppery, green oils, check this one out ASAP. Each day we wait will mean it gets just a tiny bit mellower, so carpe diem!

The Il Tratturello comes from the little touristed region of Molise, a couple hours’ drive due east from Rome. It’s produced by the Travaglini family using organic methods. Francesco Travaglini argues that the Molise is an ideal growing region for olives—coldish in the winter; hot in the summer. The oil is made mostly from a special local variety of olive known as Gentile di Larino (60 percent), along with a bit of the more frequently seen Frantoio (28 percent), Leccino (10 percent), and Moraiolo (2 percent) olive varieties. The olives are all handpicked in the very early autumn (October). Most of Francesco’s trees are older—some as old as five centuries—which generally means a lower yield but a more interesting flavor. Olives are pressed within hours of picking. All of which makes for more intense, complex, compelling, greener-in-flavor, peppery oil of very high quality.

Our importer, Beatrice Ughi of Gustiamo, shared, “Francesco is young, passionate and knowledgeable. He has his own mill, and this is the third year he is organic. The weather this year was not good for the olives—Francesco had 30 percent less quantity than usual. Because he farms organically, he did the harvest on the 20th of September, while it usually takes place at the end of the first week of October. Why? All signs were telling him that if he waited, the olives would be attacked by parasites. Early harvest, lower yield. But the olive oil is exceptional, with a great personality and tones of fresh-cut grass.”

Nancy Harmon Jenkins, who has lived in Italy for decades and is adamant about oil quality, loves Il Tratturello. She writes, “The oil has a decidedly fresh, herbaceous fragrance (cut grass, freshly-mown hay) and on the finish, a flavor of almonds and hints of spice…” Italy’s leading food magazine, Gambero Rosso, gave Il Tratturello the highest rating of “three leaves.” I say it’s delicious. Green, edgy, catchy, courageous. It’s got a good burst of white pepper—softly spicy and compellingly voluptuous.

It’s an oil that will wake up your taste buds and take your holiday week to the next level!