Friday, November 9, 2012

Tuscany in Ballymaloe

The Crowd
Have you ever noticed that all the olive oils in supermarkets taste the same, have hardly colour and are still called Extra Virgin Olive oil?? Don't get me wrong, they are ok for cooking but in a dressing wouldn't we all like more from an oil?

Tuscany is famous for their wine, food, landscape and their olive oil. Last night 2 producers came to the Grainstore in Ballymaloe and introduced us to the most amazing oils and wines from their region. The event was very well organised and the quality of the oils and wines were outstanding. The colour of the oils were such an intense green that one might think food colouring has been added. But no - that's how good olive oil should look like.

Apparently, 2012 has yielded the best harvest in some years and the quality of the oils is even better than usual. I learned that the lower the acidity in olive oil, the better the oil. Tuscany had a very dry summer (she had to rub it in) so the olives were quite small during their main growing season but when the rain finally came in late August, the rain plumped up the olives and created the low acidity which resulted in some amazing oils.

Beautiful oils
Liberty Wines are the importers of the wines and oils and provided a lovely booklet with information on each oil and wine. We tasted 3 amazing oils:

Capezzana - not filtered, bright green colour, slightly spicy - deep overall flavour. Comes from an estate with 26,000 olive trees (yes, this is not a typo).

Fontodi - filtered & certified organic - rich dark green, grassy notes with a little kick in the back but very elegant.

Selvapiana - slightly filtered, not clear - very rich peppery flavour with a strong kick in the back of spice. This was a bit too peppery for me but gosh - it had a punch to it.

The producers were at hand with information of each oil and it made it so much easier to identify some of the flavour notes. The oils don't come cheap but you wouldn't use it in cooking but for dipping, drizzling or dressings in salad, so it would last you quite a bit. And just imagine - everytime you use it, you will taste Tuscany. The oils can be found at Ballymaloe Farm Shop, Ballymaloe School Shop and Bradley's in North Main Street (have to place my order today). They are expecting delivery in late November - would make a lovely Christmas gift for the foodie in your life :-)

The Wines
The wines - oh my God the wines..... There were some amazing ones but the one that stood out mostly for me was a 100% Sauvignon Blanc..... I know, I don't like it normally but Fontodi 'Meriggio' 2011 has converted me totally. It is smooth with a touch of cream, simply elegant European style over New World Mass Production. Gentle but impressive. This wine is on my list - with a retail price of €21.99 not for everyday consumption but for a treat definitely.

Vin Santo
We were also treated to some amazing dessert wines - rich, sweet - perfect partner for blue cheese. 

For more information on the wines tasted on the night, please contact Liberty Wines, - he will also be able to provide you with stockist for the wines.

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