It’s olive season in Wine Country, and now through the new year you can play the role of farmer and shake down the tasty fruit straight from the trees or wait until they get made into artisanal oil and briny table snacks. Either way, yum!
For a recent article on chefs and their favorite olio nuovos, I also asked them all what olive oils they use in general. Here are some of their favorites. Take note: The very approachably-priced California Olive Ranch brand was noted by more than one chef as their favorite for general use. I have some in my own cupboard. For the rest of these olive oils, I see Christmas presents.
You've got until next Friday to finalize your gifts for your foodie friends and family. Your time is similarly limited when it comes to olio nuovo, olio nuevo or—a less cool way to say it—new olive oil. The fall is when most of the olives around here are pressed and the oil is generally available at the latest until mid-winter. New olive oil is peppery, robust and has some serious personality compared to its mellower, older sibling. Here are a few we'd recommend. They make great, if heavy, stocking stuffers.
And what's even more surprising, it's good. What's not surprising is the fact that the place—Humphry Slocombe, owned by Jake Godby, formerly of Coi, etc. etc.—is using McEvoy Ranch olive oil. The result reminds me of times I've had real, super-expensive balsamic vinegar dribbled onto vanilla ice cream...not shockingly savory but subtly vegetal, in a good way.