Wine and food...
It's long been rumoured that Italian olive oil 'producers' sell far more oil than they make and now, according to a new book called 'Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil' by Tom Mueller (Atlantic, 288p), it is apparently true - three times as much in fact.
For those who want to indulge in a little Tuscan taste without doubt about where it came from, there are 'other' oils. And they are a far cry from the early days of experimentation with olive oil that many countries have indulged in.
While it's still early days for New Zealand olive oil, I must confess to finally being impressed with a South Island version called 4 Groves Extra Virgin Olive Oil, made by Sue Stark in Cromwell, Central Otago.The first clue to its high quality was the deep green hue of the oil; the second its peppery intense aroma and, finally, the proof was on the sliver of bread I had with it - this stuff is so exceptional it almost seems a crime to eat anything with it.
Well done, Sue. Keep that wonderful oil flowing.
Naturally enough, she's using only Tuscan olive varieties frantoio and leccino. If only the Tuscans would all adhere to such high standards. Some do - and their olives are great.
4 Groves Extra Virgin Olive Oil is available in miniscule quantities. Contact Sue Stark, email: email@example.com