Good Extra Virgin Olive Oils – Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Extra Virgin Olive Oil expert, Nancy Harmon Jenkins, on Zester Daily, acknowledges frauds are rampant, and writes: “It’s true, there’s a lot of bad oil masquerading as extra virgin. But there’s also a lot of tremendously good oil, much of it from Italy. Our job as consumers is to educate ourselves about what constitutes good oil so we no longer submit our palates, kitchens or tables to the nastiness of old, rancid, fusty oil. Over the past few weeks I’ve tasted the following Italian oils and find them all highly commendable.” In the list of the oils, Nancy recommends:

Pianogrillo, made in the Iblean Hills near Chiaramonte Gulfi in the Sicilian province of Ragusa, is a monocultivar of prestigious tonda iblea olives, made by Lorenzo Piccione. Golden green oil with fresh fruit flavors and an intense aroma of tomato leaf and cut grass, Pianogrillo has more than a hint of wild oregano growing around the olive trees…”

Cru di Cures, guaranteed denomination of origin (DOP Sabina), is produced in Fara Sabina, in the Sabine hills northeast of Rome, by sisters Laura and Antonella Fagiolo. A blend of autochthonous cultivars raja and carboncella, along with more pan-Italian varieties such as frantoio and leccino, this is a roundly fruity oil with a distinctive almond flavor. Unfiltered…”

Il Tratturello is produced by Francesco Travaglini at his Parco dei Buoi, in mountainous Molise, a small region sandwiched between Abruzzi and Puglia. The olives, harvested early in October, are mostly an autochthonous cultivar called gentile di Larino, with an admixture of frantoio, leccino and moraiolo. 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…”

Grazie mille Nancy!