Americans were given a shock over the past few months when we learned that most of the olive oil sold in our grocery stores was in fact, not 100% olive oil. And so, our palates have forgotten the flavor and texture of true olive oils. How to renew our acquaintance with one of Cuisine’s most important and ancient tastes?
I was just in the Matera area of Italy, Basilicata region. There, I was happy to be hosted to experience La Majatica, their special olive oil! This is a part of the world that boasts one of Europe’s earliest settlements. Homes were crafted out of caves and rocks over 10,000 years ago. With an emphasis on agriculture, as well as a simple — sometimes impoverished — lifestyle, the people from Matera have forged a culinary tradition highlighting the best of natural and wild flavors.
This olive oil was awarded the “Olivarum” prize, created to promote improvements in the quality of Extra Virgin olive oil, organized in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce of Matera.
It’s an intense, grassy green, with a floral nose. It’s fairly rich in viscosity. Tasting it, I noticed the bitter green notes and intense flavor of a real Extra Virgin Olive Oil. There’s a bitter spice on the back of the throat. I would use this olive oil in dishes — like salads — that support a powerful taste.
Here’s what they say about it:
For nearly fifty years, in San Mauro Forte, a village in the hills of Matera in Basilicata, the oil mill Valluzzi produces a high-quality extra virgin olive oil monovarietale.
The cultivar Majatica is typical of this small area of Italy where the majestic olive grows and bears fruit round and fleshy for a high quality oil.
The mill is equipped with Valluzzi continuous cycle plants, cold-pressed, which occurs within 24 hours of harvesting the olives, guarantee a low degree of acidity of the product.
Green with yellow highlights, the oil Valluzzi has delicate aromas of olive and vegetable tones.
The flavor is delicate, rich fruity, slightly bitter and spicy with an elegant touch of well balanced on the finish.
The Majatica extra virgin olive oil is well suited to flavor foods weakly structured, delicate aromas, subject to slight baking, frying vegetables and desserts; enhances its many merits of salads, delicate fish of the sea or lake, fish carpaccio.