Last week I was given a bottle of olive oil by one of my classmates, Jeff Martin. Jeff is the owner of Frantoio Grove in Gilroy, California and was also attending the two milling courses held at UC Davis taught by Pablo Canamasas of Australia’s Boundary Bend. I met Jeff during a class break in front of the Alfa Laval table. Alfa Laval sells olive milling and other heat transfer equipment.
The Alfa Laval rep, who I had met this past summer at the UC Davis olive oil tasting courses I attended, remembered that the oil from the Frantoio cultivar/variety of olives is my favorite. Yada yada. I had a bottle of Frantoio Grove to bubble wrap and check through on my flight from Sacramento to Atlanta.
There was no expectation on Jeff’s part that I would like the oil or even write about it. I have tasted lots of oils and have had nothing to say about them.
Two days after I got home I invited my friend Eva over to sample the oil with me. I grabbed a couple of little plastic cups and poured some for each of us. I gave Eva a little lesson in olive oil tasting. We placed the cups in the palm of one hand and then covered the top of the cup with the other. We warmed the oil with our hands while gently circulating the oil in the cup.
We stuck our noses in the cups and sniffed. Both of us making sounds of delight. The scents were herbaceous and floral. Herbaceous usually indicates an early harvest and floral a later harvest, but both scents were definitely there. We each took a sip. I tried to do the strippaggio, which is a special tooth-sucking action that adds some oxygen to the oil while coating part of the mouth and enhances any attributes or defects in the oil. I’m not good at strippaggioing and made Eva laugh. She tried it too and did much better than me.
The oil was mellow with a little bit of a sting at the back of the throat. The sting is a good thing.
Jeff’s Frantoio Grove single cultivar extra virgin olive oil is an oil that is easy to use. I have enjoyed it on everything from the morning eggs and biscuits to the evening rice, pork chops and green beans. It’s a versatile olive oil. It adds character to a meal, but doesn’t overpower it.
Here is a link to Jeff’s online store. As usual, here is my disclaimer – nope, I’m not making any money from your purchase of Jeff’s olive oil.
May the sun shine through your branches.