The other evening , I had the most surprising and pleasurable experience! I was invited to an olive oil tasting by a new friend of mine, and although I wasn't sure what to expect, I accepted her invitation happily. Sally has a dear friend,Sara who writes for a great little wine magazine in town, and the article that she is currently working on is a comparison of some pretty remarkable olive oils. I was delighted to be able to help with the research, and eager to meet some new "foodie" friends!
When Friday evening arrived it was beautiful, an abundant spring feast with great smells in the air and birds singing endlessly. I arrived at Sara's home, and thought to myself, "What a glorious way to spend a friday evening!" and dove through the door!
Sara and her friends were delightful to meet, but the most fun was yet to occur. Laid beautifully on Sara's dining room table as if they were bottled in flasks of precious gold, were eight of the most intriguing bottles of olive oil that I have ever seen. With them were silver spoons for all of us and lovely plates, napkins and a bowl of water crackers to cleanse our palates!
Sara began to explaining the process by which we would be tasting these luscious oils, first we were to take a tablespoon of each oil and place about 1/3 of it in our palms, rubbing the oil with our fingers until it was warm. Then we to inhale the aroma of each oil and allow the individual fragrances to emerge. Needless to say, this was delightful! I hadn't realized until that evening that olive oils came in so many different varieties and they all have very complex natures, just like really exceptional wines.
Some were fruity, some buttery,other's had the aroma of freshly mown clover hay. There was even an oil that had the distinct aroma of leather and wheat!
As soon as we had experienced enough of the aroma, we were to taste the oil that was left in the spoon, sucking it slowly through our teeth, then allowing the taste to explode on our tongues and eventually swallow, so that we could experience the finish. Incredible...Each oil when experienced in this way, really gives up it's secrets. They were by turns lovely and velvety, resinous and vey spicy. Some slid down your throat like melted butter, others had such a pepery finish that they left you breathless. Each was wonderful!
When the tasting was over, Sara brought out a beautiful platter of shrimp, Maytag bleu cheese and St. Andre, gorgeous red grapes and a lovely Italian red wine. It was the perfect finish to such a lovely evening! Who would have ever thought that tasting eight tablespoons of olive oil could have been such a lovely and sensuous experience! Driving home a passionate bit of opera on WKSU 89.7 kept the experience alive. I've not looked at olive oil in the same way since then. They are so readily available, a bit of molten, fruity gold that we can use as liberally as we choose on so many different foods. For me, the evening was an instant trip to Italy or the sun drenched south of France. For the record, we tasted seven Italian oils, and one exquisite oil from California. I adored the the oil from California. It was sweet and tasted like clover and fresh honey. It's pricey, a commanding 45.00 dollars for the bottle, but absolutely worth it. I probably wouldn't cook with it, but I'd use it to dress a plate of fresh greens, or on some pasta with some fresh tomatoes , garlic and aged parmesan. You can find this treasure at www.longmeadowranch.com
They make two types of oils and the one that you're looking for is named "Prato Lungo". I promise that you will love it! Bon Appetit!