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Italy's Ultra-Fresh Olio Nuovo Is Officially In Season & Dominating SF Menus

Photography by Aubrie Pick

You’ve got to be gentle with it,” warns Perbacco’s chef Staffan Terje (pictured) of Italy’s powerful olio nuovo—the extra-virgin olive oil that’s being cold-pressed, bottled up, and shipped to restaurants now. It’s so fresh, it’s likened to drinking milk from a cow. Terje, who uses the emerald green, murky oil to top off bean soups and grilled meats, favors Tenuta di Capezzana, a classic from Tuscany. But like chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto, Terje also loves Umbria’s Frantoio Olivestri, which he uses to make his olive oil gelato. At Rose Pistola and Terzo, chef Mark Gordon is fond of Fiordolio, another Umbrian number. “It’s got lots of pepper and a buttery texture yet still maintains a good amount of fruit,” he says. On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and 2, Boulevard and Prospect will go as far as to bring down Seattle-based Jeffrey Bergman, a self-titled olive oil sommelier, to pour olive oil flights. Italy had a hot summer, which means the new oil is likely to be intense. “It’s almost effervescent, and the polyphenols just sparkle in your mouth,” he says. “The oil is just alive. It’s incredible.”

To make olive oil dinner reservations, 
contact Boulevard (1 Mission St. at Steuart, 
415-543-6084) 
or Prospect (300 Spear St. at Folsom, 415-240-7770). Find the olive oils at casedecase.com and markethallfoods.com.