And tips for what to look for
If you’ve ever wandered into the Deli and felt a little overwhelmed by our wall of olive oils, know that we’ve heard that before, so you’re not alone. We stock a selection of the most unique and well-made olive oils from around the world, and, indeed, guests often come in looking to splurge on a special bottle for a gift. We love that! But we also believe great olive oil is meant to be enjoyed daily and we want to help make finding a favorite olive oil as approachable as possible. So, today we’re sharing our equivalent of olive oil Cliffs Notes: Wendy Bauer, our Olive Olive Sommelier’s favorite bottles.
3 Favorite Olive Oils
Roi: The oil is rich and creamy, with a sweet, mild flavor and a slow-growing gentle pepperiness that warms the throat. Wendy says, “The Boeri family produces this amazing Taggiasca varietal that is grown on the rocky seaside cliffs within the beautiful village of Badalucco, Italy.”
Muraglia: From Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot comes this spicy, racy extra virgin olive oil. Oil aficionados who crave intensity will be blown away by its big, bold body and grassy, peppery finish. Wendy says, “It’s a gorgeous Italian Coratina olive oil packaged in a hand-painted rainbow ceramic jug, that just makes you smile when you see it. I like to tell guests it’s great food and great art, all in one gift!”
Les Moulins Mahjoub: A sharp, green, and totally unique oil from Tunisia. Wendy says, “I always have a tin of this on my counter, as my work horse olive oil. I use it every single day in every way. It’s great for sautéing, grilling, baking, and even sipping!”
Tips for What to Look For
Wendy loves to make extra virgin olive oil more approachable and enjoyable by simply having conversations with you, our guests, and by far, the most frequently asked question she gets is: “How do I know if it’s a good bottle of olive oil?” Her answer is always: Read the label.
She suggests looking for olive oils with a single source location, meaning from one region or country, and noting the harvest date and the varietal of olive. Those factors can all have a big impact on the olive oil’s flavor, so paying attention to them can be a great starting point in understanding what you may like and tasting new and unique nuances.
The Deli is a great place to find an outstanding selection of olive oils, and that’s especially true for guests that are concerned about ethical labor practices and organic and sustainable growing practices, as Wendy explains:
Olive oil producers should label their oils with information about these practices, knowing we as consumers will seek out this extra attention that goes into the product production. An agricultural product such as extra virgin olive oil can be immediately and adversely affected by negative and irresponsible production practices, and so seeking out higher quality oils by smaller producers can ensure these ethical and responsible practices are in place.
When we decide to sell an olive oil here at Zingermans, part of that includes how the producer cares for and tends to their crop. Just like with any other agricultural product, how it’s grown, tended to, and ultimately produced, makes for the best product. The olive oils we sell here at Zingerman’s all have sustainable and organic practices, practiced in their production.
That’s precisely why we work with producers that we have a personal relationship with and only carry olive oils that we have a nuanced understanding of. Wendy, and the entire Deli Detail, can’t wait to help you find your own favorite olive oils.