So what happens when you have a visitor from Tuscany just after CBS 60 Minutes reports on the Agromafia in Italy? He draws a crowd!
This weekend we were treated to an outstanding visit with Paolo di Gaetano of Fonte di Foiano.
Paolo opened bottles and guided customers through the spicy 1979 and Grand Cru. Gentle debaters discussed the comparative intensities of these two. The new Riflessi and Bio (Organic) were presented and tasted. Riflessi won over hearts and taste buds, with an amazing aroma and well balanced olive oil. While Paolo called the intensity moderate, others found it to be a bit more assertive than anticipated.
One could simply taste from a cup, as professional tasters do, or sample with food. While tasting, our guests added their chosen olive oils to pasta, simply prepared beans, mozzarella, and tomatoes. A salad of greens, radicchio, and escarole was dressed with Riflessi together with Cattani White Balsamic.
Perhaps the most stunning moment: the spicy Grand Cru served over vanilla ice cream! This is a sublime, if surprising, combination of spicy and sweet. First, the sweet, creamy taste of ice cream, followed by the lingering peppery finish of the olive oil. Black pepper dominated! (Paolo says the suggestion for ice cream came from Gino Celletti, a man known for his involvement with top quality olive oil competitions).
The discussion ranged from the 60 Minutes Agromafia story to the chemistry of olive oil. Much time was spent discussing how the blends are determined, how often they taste, what expert tasters are called (assagiatori), how many work the fields to pick the olives (50-60). Paolo, his brother Simone, and father taste daily during the pressing stages.
As he departed, Paolo expressed his appreciation for our knowledgeable customers who wanted to learn even more about olive oil. It seems some are making plans to visit the estate and agritourismo in the coming months!