Jason Gibb and his partner Cathy Rogers left jobs producing ‘Junkyard Wars’ to move to Italy for a more sensual vocation: producing slick, Nudo olive oil.
They use 100% Italian olives to make Extra Virgin olive oil (not sullied oil that’s been around the block). From the grove, the olives are immediately cold pressed (stones in) and sealed in recycled tins to keep the flavor in and the light out.
Olive oil is like ancient Miracle-Gro for your body that promotes regularity, helps prevent skin cancer, makes your hair shiny and makes pretty much everything you could put in your mouth a million times better. It’s the only oil that’s made out of the fruit, not the seed. Mmmm. Fat-fruits.
Gibb has teamed up with other regional producers to keep up with demand for high quality oil. They’ve set up a system online that you can adopt your own olive tree; you pick the grove (and subsequent tasting notes inherent therein). You’re guaranteed the spring haul from your own adopted tree. I haven’t lived in Toronto long enough to have developed this longing to reconvene with nature (remember the blackflies, people!), but I know others who would be right into this tree loving. Gibbs mentions that you can visit your tree and they’ll set you up with a bottle of wine and some alone time with it (romance).
Nudo flavored oils include mandarin, thyme, lemon, Sicilian chillis, garlic and basil. Pressing the oil with each component ensures a consistent dispersal of flavor. The Sicilian Chillies Olio D’oliva has a nice, round rich feel, without being overbearing. Gibb describes it like a ‘Sicilian donkey with a soft friendly nose at the front, followed up with a kick from behind.” I practically inhaled an oily bowl of donkey kicks.
Nudo Olio d’Oliva is available at All the Best Fine Foods (1101 Yonge St.)
Spicy Olive Tapenade (courtesy Nicole Rumball, All the Best Fine Foods)
1 clove garlic
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
.5 green bell pepper (roasted, peeled and seeded)
.5 cup pitted Kalamata olives
.5 cup pimento stuffed Manzanilla olives
.25 cup Nudo Olive Oil with Sicilian Chillies
In a food processor, combine garlic, anchovies, parsley, lemon juice, vinegar and oregano and process until smooth. Add bell pepper and Kalamata olives and manzanilla olives and process briefly until olives are chopped but still retain some texture. Drizzle in oil through feeder tube and pulse to combine until just smooth. Transfer tapenade to a container and cover surface with a little more Nudo oil and seal tightly. Keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Tiffy Thompson is a writer and illustrator for the Toronto Standard. Follow her on Twitter at @tiffyjthompson