I’m a huge fan of the olive oil tasting bar at one of my favorite specialty food stores, ChefShop.com in Seattle. I always look to them when I’m interested in how olive oils can flavor or inspire a certain dish. It’s amazing to me how very different certain oils can taste on their own, and when combined with other ingredients. (My fav combo is a nice dipping oil, crusty bread and sea salt!) I just received a few product reviews that I would like to share with you about 2 new olive oils from a California producer. (No, great olive oil doesn’t have to come from Italy!)
Knowledge is power, and olive oil can be a complicated topic! ChefShop.com knows their olive oils, so if you are just getting educated about the different uses for olive oils, or are a seasoned professional looking for a new treat, you won’t be disappointed with either of these Gal Foodie Favorite picks!
New Organic Chef’s Pick Olive Oil
Many of you know that one of the best deals in olive oil is Organic Chef’s Pick from Albert and Kim Katz. We often speak highly of their oils and, just recently, we let you know that Katz December Oil (2008) was their very best new oil ever. Their Meyer Lemon Olive Oil is a sure-fire and always-fun winner too.
Well, it is that time of year again. The new Organic Chef’s Pick is here… the first bottling and, as such, the most robust of the year. (Each shipment is a little different as the oil is kept in an airless stainless vat until it is bottled. So, the oil will mellow a little as the year progresses.) This year’s Chef’s Pick oil is a direct reflection of the December Oil. If you were one of the lucky ones to have ordered a bottle this year, you know what we are talking about! This year’s Organic Chef’s Pick oil is full of vitality, green with a punch, has a smooth feel, and a finish that doesn’t linger too long. It explodes in the mouth – full of expression. It really is good! This Gold Medal winner, at $25 for a 750 ml bottle, is by far one of the best deals in the world for such a great olive oil. If you like Italian oils, this oil will show you why California is a great place not only for wines, but for olive oil too!
New Organic Rock Hill Ranch Olive Oil
It has been a rocky road for Rock Hill. For me, Rock Hill has never been my personal favorite. An oil with definite character and personality, but, like people, perhaps not your cup of tea. Its opinionated taste has brought it Gold Medal accolades for the last three years at the prestigious L.A. International Olive Oil Competition. The flavor characteristics in the past have been strong, with a sharp pronounced olive along the edge of the tongue, some bitterness, clean grass, and a strong, open flavor. Delicious, but never quite as appealing to me as the classic Chef’s Pick. But despite this oil’s bumpy start, it has an ever growing following, perhaps because of its strong personality.
New Organic Rock Hill has matured into a very special oil. With a grove of Allegra olives now producing enough olives to be the significant voice in the oil, Rock Hill seems to have found its song. I guess as a young oil that you expect to be a superstar, there comes likes and dislikes. This year it appears that all things have come together on top of Rock Hill…and here’s why. The olives that make up this year’s complex oil include Taggiasca and Casaliva olives, native to Ligurian and Lombardy regions in Italy. These two olives make up 40% of this oil and contribute a soft taste, a hint of fruit, and a rich mouth feel. The Leccino olives, which make up 10% of this blend, add the classic green grassiness and peppery finish, so typical of Tuscan oils. The Allegra olive makes up 50% of the blend. A slow growing (low-vigor) and very rare olive variety from Italy creates beautiful “clusters” of fruit, yielding full oil with wonderful round flavors. This is the “secret” ingredient! The Allegra olives (and trees) are just maturing and are making Rock Hill one of the most interesting oils of the year! If you haven’t tried it, this is the year to do so!
About the Olive Oil Producer
Albert and Kim Katz have completed their third transitional year for all of their olives using organic and sustainable farming practices. They are proud to have made this commitment, and Gal Foodie is thrilled to further her longtime support of organic farming.