According to the New York Times, the cuisine of the Italian region of Liguria — whose capital is Genoa — is a study in paradox. While a port city with access to the freshest seafood and global delicacies such as tomatoes, as well as a historic stop on the Spice Routes, it’s rather known for a simple, vegetable and herb based cuisine. With unfussy foods, it’s critical that each element pack a flavor punch. Even — or especially — olive oil used for drizzling and cooking has to perform more than merely serving as an unguent.
Nudo Adopt is a “collaboration of small scale, artisanal producers” of fresh olive oil. That’s what you want! You’ve no doubt read about the major corporations sneaking in cheaper (and sometimes rancid) oils into the bottles you buy. It used to be quite impossible to obtain the product of these micro-producers, but no longer. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!
Their olive oil business is self-contained and Fair Trade. They’ve taken the concept of CSAs (community supported agriculture) and applied it to olive trees! You “adopt” a tree to help Italian farmers for your choice of a biannual or annual basis. Then, you get a tin container of the freshest, seasonal olive oil from your tree, while helping small farming operations foist off developers!
I tried Olio Nuovo, unfiltered and extra virgin. It is a fairly bright chartreuse with a hint of cloudiness. I noticed a significant vegetal nose. Flavor-wise, it’s peppery, grassy, with a full, rich mouth feel. It’s so flavorful, it can work all by itself as a simple sauce — like I tried on pasta tonight. They suggest drizzling it on crusty, Italian bread. With its peppery notes, it would serve as the perfect base for Liguria’s most famous sauce: pesto.