Much has been said and written about Tom Mueller’s book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, since it was published in late 2011. (You can see it on our Recommendations page).
We appreciated the minutiae and the revealing details in the quest for authentic extra virgin olive oil. We closely read the snippets and stories of olive oil production in Italy, Spain, Australia, and California.
Mueller’s book includes facets of the industry that are very important to us. Sift through and you will find production costs (up to $800 per ton for picking and milling in California), tree to mill timing, and impossibly low prices in restaurant supply chains.
We were thrilled to see the recognition for Villa Magra Gran Cru on the early pages, and we continue to be certain of our mission to import estate bottled olive oils for our customers.
While the farm-to-table route may be a bit long, our goal is to deliver authenticity, excellence, and character straight to your kitchen just as it departed the frantoio in Italy. Some of our producers are so small that they don’t produce enough to put a case in every WF (~ 300 stores ~ guess!) store across the country. More laughable would be the idea their oils could be stocked in a big box club store.
Through the book, Mueller also reveals the delivery of a tainted bulk bladder of olive oil, described as like a small green whale, which picked up elements of contamination enroute. It took its journey via shipping container which had previously been treated with pesticides. The flexible bladder absorbed the pesticides, and while detected in time, the end result is a lawsuit. That’s why we continue to import oil in glass bottles. While the weight contributes to the cost, the integrity of the product is maintained.
One of the biggest trends in olive oil sales in the U.S. are the bulk oil stores. Our extra virgin olive oil is sold like wine, based on the authenticity, estate, region, terroir, cultivars, and food pairings. The more layers or pathways between tree and table, the greater possibility of deception. Bottles, sealed, labeled, numbered, and leaving the estate just as they arrive to you, carries forth our mission to provide authentic Italian extra virgin olive oil.
So, which Italian extra virgin olive oils does Mueller recommend? Here’s his list. You can find a selection of them on our site. Scroll down to selected brands by nation, Italy:
You can find the following at Olio2go right now (with a few coming soon!): Tenuta Pennita (Alina), Colli Etruschi (more coming soon), Fontansalsa (Gemini), Fattoria di Monti (Monti and Razzo) Titone, Villa Zottopera (Rosso), DeCarlo of Puglia (noted in an early chapter of Extravirginity!), Cetrone, Quattrociocchi, Marina Colonna, Crudo, Frescobaldi Laudemio, and the collection of oils from Frantoio Franci.
Let us know what you think!
[updated 1 January 2013]