Saturday, January 24, 2015

Affordable, excellent olive oil in a bad year

For those who haven't kept up with the news, 2014 was the worst year in memory for the olive crop in Italy's best growing areas and much of the rest of Europe. You can read the sad news here

This disaster of course has to be viewed against the backdrop of scams, fraudulent substitutions/mislabeling and dead-in-the-water staleness on the shelf that are the reality of olive oil commerce, particularly in the United States. For a primer on this I recommend the book Extra Virginity, and also the invaluable web site of its author, which among other things includes a very accurate overview of the few authentic, good-to-great olive oils likely to be available at your supermarket. 

Given the time of year (I'm writing at the end of January, 2015) and the disastrous 2014 crop this is going to be a year to secure your olive oil for the entire year (i.e. through spring of 2016) promptly. In other words, source early and well, and hoard. 

For those who can afford $30-45 for a half-liter of oil it'll be important to buy from the best importers, such as Giuliana in Boulder or Zingerman's in Ann Arbor. For the rest of us, by far the best choice is going to be the excellent (as in ~85% as good as the best single estate oils) Toscano (not the regular stuff in the plastic bottles) Kirkland Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2014 crop from Costco, which has just arrived on the shelves of our local (Colorado Springs) store, and which I predict will disappear very quickly. At $12.89 for a liter it's about one-third the price of the few oils available in the U.S. that equal or surpass it in flavor. Carpe diem

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post Kevin and timely.