Autumn is in the air and the scents of apples, pumpkins and the new harvest olive oil abound. Indeed, October brings the slightly cooler air which invokes the picking of the first olive fruits. These still very green olives will be pressed into the first new olive oil of the year; Olio Nuovo in Italian.
Mill masters the world over patiently await at the end of the processing line in anticipation of that first taste of vibrantly flowing olive juice. Millers and their teams celebrate the beginning of the new harvest season with the first drops of this scintillating oil and fresh crusty bread.
Olio Nuovo, much like France’s Nouveau Beaujolais wine, should be consumed as soon as possible for the optimal flavor. Of course, the oil will be good for at least one year, although it is doubtful it will remain this long in your kitchen!Regardless of what you call this olive oil in the language of choice, this premier oil will most definitely evoke the greenest of notes: artichokes, green apple skin, even green bananas. While a long history of traditions dictate many reasons why Olio Nuovo is so special, of greater interest to most is "How should I use it?"
Here are some ideas on how to best extol the virtues of your Olio Nuovo:
Pair this Autumn olive oil with the other bounties of the season. Pumpkin soup is a perfect example; a luxurious pumpkin soup served in a small hollowed out pumpkin with a generous drizzle of Olio Nuovo is enough to get you a spot in a cooking competition (it did for me!). Top it off with Pomegranate Balsamic to further evoke the flavors of the season.
And then of course there are so many delicious apple varieties at the local markets eager to be transformed into new uses. Finish your seasoned apples baked either in the oven or sautéed in a cast-iron skillet with the Olio Nuovo. The fresh fruit notes will be enhanced by the juicy apples and their accompanying spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
Olio Nuovo is also the ultimate compliment to Autumn’s vegetable harvest. Brussel sprouts, turnips, radishes, the various types of squash and leafy greens all come vibrantly to life under the glossing of Olio Nuovo. And the Autumn mushrooms!! What a flavorful way to intensify their complexity and earthiness than with this newly pressed olive juice.
In olive oil producing regions throughout the world, Olio Nuovo has a most prominent and honored place at the Christmas table. Here in America, we are fortunate to have an additional holiday in which to display this celebratory olive oil and give thanks for all the seasons harvests. The Thanksgiving feast offers so many wonderful dishes to be enhanced by this olive oil. Feature a bottle of The Olive Tap’s Olio Nuovo on your Thanksgiving table and invite your family and friends to pour it over mashed potatoes and to use it as gravy for turkey and stuffing. Everyone loves the American classic of yams baked with toasty marshmallows; why not make your own marshmallow creme using Olio Nuovo? And do not forget about the crust of your pumpkin or cranberry pie. Just a little Olio Nuovo will go a long way in adding delectable flavor to your holiday pie crusts.
The Italian Way
Listed above are many ways to enjoy the new harvest olive oil throughout the season. However, before all that, the Olio Nuovo MUST be savored and relished simply…the Italian way. Using the best bread you can find, drench it with the pungent Olio Nuovo and sprinkle with your favorite pure sea salt such as Fleur de Sel. Experiencing the olive oil in this simple yet profound way will allow you to truly appreciate the uniqueness of this very special olive oil. Bravissimo!