Given the vast number of brands, farms and producers available to the British consumers, we have selected 3 of our favourite books about the world of extra virgin olive oil.
The first one is Extra Virginity by Tom Mueller, an American journalist who lives in Liguria and a frequent contributor to the New Yorker and National Geographic and who has done extensive research about the production and marketing of olive oil. A truly fascinating book. Here is a review by the Guardian.
We are delighted to be featured in the Fine Food Digest April 2021 edition in its coverage of new oils and vinegars.
The Fine Food Digest is published by the Guild of Fine Foods and is one of the most respected trade magazine for the fine food and delicatessen sector in the UK.
The article included 3 recent product launches: aix&terra's organic olive oil with chili from the Provence, Moulins Mahjoub's organic early harvest single variety Chetoui extra virgin olive oil from Tunisia and Diliberto's organic Fiordidrupa extra virgin olive oil from Sicily.
We are very pleased with the success of the latest additions to our range of oils which can be found across the UK in organic stores, delicatessen and farm shops.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (0) 203 866 8934 to become a stockist.
The new 2020/2021 harvest is finished and we had the opportunity to taste many news oils. Whilst there have been significant changes in volumes of production around the Mediterranean, we continue to find real gems of carefully crafted premium olive oils from our partners.
Frantoio Franci, the award-winning artisan producer based in Tuscany, with the highest score of 100 points in the 2021 edition of Flos Olei, has launched a single variety coratina which we highly recommend for lovers of intense olive oils. It displays a powerful and elegant taste, complex with well-defined bitter and spicy notes of long persistence and good harmony. We have thoroughly enjoyed it drizzled over a butternut squash soup. The Toscano IGP has won another Gold Medal at the 2020 New York International Olive Oil Competition. This medium fruity Tuscan is particularly well suited to a tomato and mozzarella salad.
In Spain, our partner Oro Bailen is back with their 4 monocultivar extra virgin olive oils, hojiblanca, arbequina, picual and frantoio. Whilst picual continues to be regarded as one of the world's finest olive oils, winning year after year gold medals in the most prestigious competitions, we have been delighted to discover the new 2020/2021 hojiblanca, the mildest oil in the range. It has a beautiful fruitiness and is great to embark on a journey into the world of premium olive oils.
In Tunisia, after a particularly warm fall, our partner Domaine Fendri had to wait until the second half of November to start the harvest. A drop in temperatures is crucial to give the mild chemlali variety its fruitiness. We found the new 2020/2021 oil to be balanced, complex in flavours with a long finish and a slight degree of bitterness. We enjoyed it on fresh vegetables and sourdough bread. Domaine Fendri was a finalist in the 2020 edition of the Mario Solinas International Olive Oil Competition.
The word harissa comes from the arabic word "هرس" which refers to the pounding or crushing of sun-dried peppers which is its main ingredient. They are typically mixed with garlic, caraway seeds, cumin, salt, sun-dried tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. Some recipes also include dried mint.
Peppers arrived in Tunisia in the 16th century during the Spanish occupation and quickly become a key ingredient in its cuisine. Today, harissa can be found all over the world and has been fully adopted as a condiment from Europe, the Middle East to the United States. Prestigious chefs such as Yoram Ottolenghi often uses it his original recipes, showcasing the diversity of the South Mediterranean cuisine.
Many harissa recipes have developed over the years. We currently carry three different versions produced by Moulins Mahjoub, our partner from Tunisia in the North of Tunisia. Our organic Tunisian harissa paste is our best-sellers, it is the spiciest of the range and contains 80% baklouti peppers, a particularly hot chili pepper variety. It is very versatile for sandwiches, sauces, stews, soups, fish and meat dishes but given its strength it should be used in moderation. The traditional harissa, is the typical Berber recipe, it has a slightly smoked flavour, a medium spiciness, which makes it ideal for roasts and vegetables. Our mildest one is the sweet pepper harissa and can be used as an anti-pasti, together with pasta or on toasted bread.
Our harissa can be bought on our website, and in some of the UK's best fine food and organic stores such as Planet Organic in London, Dugard and Daughters in Ensfield or Infinity stores and bakery in Brighton.
For its 2020 edition of the Great Taste Awards, we are delighted to have won 7 new recognitions together with our partners.
1. Due Vittorie Apple Vinegar: won 3 Great Taste stars (won by less than 2% of the participants in the competition). Here are some of the judges’ comments: "Beautiful, deep golden vinegar. The aroma is of bittersweet apples. The taste.....wow, the taste. We had to check that there wasn't honey in the ingredients such was the level of sweetness that married perfectly with the acetic, rich, caramel balsamic. The viscosity is that of a darker, older balsamic...the length is unwavering in its balanced purity....What a corker. An aroma of fine old wood furniture and a cellar filled with barrels draws you in. The flavour is both fruity and sharp, beautifully crafted and perfectly balanced. We could drink this product as it is. Quite delicious. There is a roundness and sweetness that harmonises with the acetic tang. This is made by someone who really knows what they are doing. What a pleasure to taste this. Glorious....Caramel and rich in appearance, beautifully clear. A prominent cooked apple aroma. WOW! what a delicious vinegar - sweet “caramelly” notes balanced by the sharp vinegar. Still very much an apple cider vinegar but does have some of the character of a balsamic, which the method of production obviously has created.
2. Oro Bailen Arbequina extra virgin olive oil: won 2 Great Taste stars. The Great Taste judges mentioned :” There is a great deal of character to this oil whilst still being gentle.”
3. Oro Bailen Frantoio extra virgin olive oil: won 1 Great Taste star. Commenting on Oro Bailed Frantoio, the Great Taste judges mentioned “beautiful, deep, green gold oil with a sparkling clear appearance and aromas of warm freshly cut, sweet meadow hay. On the palate it is rich, smooth and creamily textured, fresh-tasting with notes of tomato leaf and bitter herb, followed by a vigorous, spicy pepper impact hitting the senses. High levels of lasting peppery heat, a certain pungency and a vegetal bitterness populate the finish. A gold-green oil with apple and wild rocket intensity on the nose.”
4. Oro Bailen Hojiblanca extra virgin olive oil: won 1 Great Taste star. Commenting on Oro Bailen Hojiblanca, the Great Taste judges ...” What an exquisite colour of golden green, perfectly clear. The aroma of freshly cut grass also has elements of cold buttered artichokes and green bananas. The mouthfeel and texture are silky smooth with a fresh young olive fruitiness, a little bitterness midpalate, and a warm and reassuring pepperiness on the finish….Vibrant in colour with a grassy, citrus nose. Peppery, meadowy and fruity in taste.”
5. Moulins Mahjoub organic hand-rolled wholewheat m'hamsa: won 1 Great Taste star. The judges found : "There was also an array of nutty flavours here that ranged from walnut to hazelnut which we enjoyed"
6. Moulins Mahjoub organic Tunisian shakshuka: won 1 Great Taste star. "This tastes homemade and without any taint from being jarred" said a judge.
7. Moulins Mahjoub organic artisan sauce with black olives and artichokes: won 1 Great Taste star. The judges commented on its "Wonderful vibrant colour with fabulous fresh aroma. A true smell of the Med. The flavour from the olives and artichokes is outstanding. All the ingredients are bringing an amazing fresh zing."
The Artisan Olive Oil Company is a London based importer, distributor and wholesaler serving independent, speciality and organic stores as well as department stores across the UK.