More than 20 years ago a group of farmers in western Sicily formed the coop called Valdibella to grow the island’s traditional crops as well as providing work for the area’s young people. The coop produces this organic extra virgin olive oil from Cerasuola, Nocellara del Belice, and Biancolilla olives. It’s very fruity, with a medium level of pungency and hints of artichoke, tomato leaf, and green almond.
The tins are marked with a best-used-by date, typically 18 months from pressing. It’s meant to help consumers, but too many people believe the oil somehow changes after this arbitrary deadline and should not be used. That’s not the case.
Extra virgin olive oil is an agricultural product that does change over time. The sharp flavor of freshly pressed oil mellows, and the bitter tang fades. But well-made oils, stored properly, can last several years before oxidation renders them unpalatable.
In the places where olive oil is made and consumed, the previous year’s is kept for cooking and other uses where the flavor isn’t so critical. If fresher oil is available, it’s used for salads and as a condiment at the table. But the older oil is still delicious, even if the flavor is softer than it was when younger.
Mild and balanced this oil is great for grilling.
Drizzle this oil onto your favorite dishes, you will love the complexity it brings.
Add this oil to your favorite sauce, and level up with it’s pronounced peppery pungency.