Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Thanksgiving Olive Oil, Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler
As I gaze at the golden, burnish orange foliage from my window, I'm reminded that Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. Actually it is the smell and anticipation of those traditional Thanksgiving culinary treasures awaiting us. With the coolness of autumn, there has always been one particular Extra Virgin olive oil that offers the perfect pairing with Thanksgiving and hearty autumn dishes. L'Estornell Organic Extra Virgin is my Thanksgiving olive oil. Produced by the renowned Vea family in Sarroca de Lleida in Catalonia, Spain, west of Barcelona and Tarragona (where my son spent his semester pluses abroad). For wine lovers, their estate is near Priorat or Priorato in Spanish. The Vea olive trees are planted on the steep terraces much like the the famed slopes of the Priorat vineyards.
Why is L'Estornell the perfect match for Thanksgiving culinary delights? Almond trees are grown near and among the olive groves giving the olive oil a distinct nutty, toasty aroma, offering a perfect accompaniment to the earthy dishes of autumn. I often like to describe olive oils by comparing them to a celebrity. L'Estornell can be described as Jennifer Aniston with hints of Adam Sandler, lovely, a little spice, always popular and with added nuttiness.
For these challenging economic times, L'Estornell offers one the best values among premium estate olive oils from the old country, which can be pricey given the lowly value of the dollar. Distribution among speciality food stores and Whole Foods Market is wide spread. To give you flexibility on size and price, bottles come in three conveneient sizes, 375 ml, 500 ml and 750 ml. There's also organic and conventional. Look for the bird, the L'Estornell, on the label. The Veas honor their arch nemesis, the L'Estornell, which loves to eat the olives when they are at peak ripeness. Each harvest is a race between bird and man. According to the legend, the L'Estornell only picks the best fruit.
Remember--Fresh is Best! Check the label for the harvest date. With this oil it will be clearly stated on the back label as "2008/2009." Avoid bottles with "2007/2008." Olive oil should be consumed within 18-24 months from the harvest.
Now, let's eat! Drizzle L'Estornell over hot pumpkin or butternut squash soup. Adding the nectar over any warm autumn dish enhances it's flavors and provides a nice dose of healthy. It could possibly help with the post-Thanksgiving dinner indigestion, too. So, this year place a bottle in the center of your Thanksgiving table.
For newcomers to premium Extra Virgin olive oil, L'Estornell is an excellent choice to begin your exploration. Over ten years ago, L'Estornell transitioned my parents to more flavorful and healthier eating. Until then they had lived on butter (nothing wrong with a little butter) and other cheap, gross and flavorless oils. At 87 and soon to be 83 years young, they are in their home tonight in Maysville, Kentucky cooking and drizzling enthusiastically with quality Extra Virgin olive oil. Chances are it is L'Estornell.