You’ve received your 2018 harvest release, now what should you be doing with it?
When you have something special in your larder, there’s something inherent in many of us that wishes to savour it, to use it sparingly. I must say that this approach to life is something I cherish and value highly. It’s something that reminds me of my grandparents; of times gone by when we all knew that we should indeed value fine things, treat them with care. Great Olive Oil however is an ingredient that requires you to re-evaluate this approach somewhat.
New season olive oil is packed full of bright, invigorating flavours and importantly, higher concentrations of polyphenols. Consumed in the first few months of their life and especially over these winter months, your oils are incredibly good for you. There is now a huge amount of press supporting the impressive health benefits of top quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but few communicate how supremely good it is for you if you consume it when it’s in its first flush of youth.
Those who think of Olive Oil as a salad dressing only will find they tend to consume less during the winter months as our diet leans more towards warmer flavours, roasted and slow cooked dishes, soups and heartier ingredients. However, now is the moment to make the most of them!
Nature, as usual, guides us brilliantly. The oils that tend to have the highest antioxidant values have more decisive flavours and therefore pair brilliantly with the earthier, rustic winter larder: root vegetables, grains, roasts, cruciferous vegetables, chicories, citrus, hardy herbs. And this coincides perfectly with the fact that we need more to sustain us through the colder months. Olive Oil can help you here, so let it.
To fully appreciate your oils, we recommend you try them on lightly toasted bread to begin with – my dream is to hear you all had a bruschetta party this January. This will give you a real sense of their flavour profile and you will then see which other ingredients will pair best with each oil. Then begin experimenting! As an incredibly rough guide: try central Italian (Tuscany/Umbria/Marche) oils over soups, pulses, red meats and grains; with fresh water fish, white meat, potatoes, salads and salsas, keep to the North of Italy (Liguria/Garda); Over steamed or roasted vegetables look South to Puglia/Calabria where the oils make the best butter substitute; With seafood and raw or rare-cooked ingredients head to Sicily/Calabria for their aromatic complexity.
Above all, please enjoy your oils, use them generously to get the greatest benefit and please feel free to contact us if you would like any recommendations, serving suggestions or advice.