Our oil has arrived. 20 litres of first cold press extra virgin olive oil from Umbria.
Vincenzo’s parents drove out to the Azienda Agricola Lea Comaschi in Amelia on Saturday to collect the annual 60 litres, 20 for them, 20 for Vincenzo and I and 20 for their daughter and her husband (the good ones, the ones who did it properly, the marriage I mean, the heavy duty catholic one, all in white and serious.)
Talking of serious, I love that oil is taken so seriously by the Caristia family. Each year Bartolomeo and Carmella make a little pilgrimage to Amelia to meet with the priest (yep) who overseas the modest production of this fine oil to collect their annual bounty. Each year, sometime in January, after a good Sunday lunch the oil is dutifully dolled out to the two siblings, the husband and I.
The olives were harvested in October and early November and were pressed immediately after to yield this first cold press extra virgin olive oil (first press- as in the oil from the first pressing of the olives, the best, cold- as no heat was used which would change the oils chemistry.)
The oil is an almost luminous green. As is typical of Umbrian extra virgin olive oil it has a beautifully low acidity, distinctive, full, robust, fruity flavour with a delicious peppery aftertaste which lingers on the tongue.
We were all reminded by the priest that oil does not keep indefinitely, each tin or bottle is marked meticulously, we should use it within a year and keep the large bottles in a cool dark place, decanting a small quantity into a smaller bottle to use each day.
I am sure this oil is one of the reasons I love to cook here so much, it is not super fancy, nor does it claim to be the finest oil in Italy (even though its mighty fine) or boast a designer bottle or price tag (I know some people love that stuff), but it is delicious, lending its robust fruity depth to so much of the food we eat. We will use it to cook, sometimes to bake and pour it generously over salads, vegetables, soups, pasta or simply mop it up with good bread.