A journey in search of Italy's olive oils - Danielle Pergament writing in The New York Times.
More than any time in recent memory, olive oil is an increasingly precious commodity. Last year’s harvest was severely damaged by extreme heat, torrential rains and hailstorms, as well as a devastating fruit fly infestation. But even worse, a few regions to the south, in Puglia, olive trees have suffered a catastrophic bacterial infection that has wiped out at least one million trees. It’s been a disastrous year. Some experts predict many olive farms will go out of business; others foresee skyrocketing prices. One thing is clear: We can’t take olive oil for granted.
With all this in mind, I had come to the old country, joined by my husband and two children, on a monthlong questto develop my American taste buds (and a quest to have a monthlong vacation). People go on wine tours of Italy, why not an olive oil tour?
Our itinerary was simple: Start in Tuscany, sampling delicate, precious olive oils from the world’s most famous producing region. Once my palate was (somewhat) educated, we’d head due south toward the Mediterranean, not stopping until we reached Puglia, the rugged, salty heel of Italy’s boot. Less famous, but far more prolific, Puglia is the olive oil capital of the country. I was here to smell, to taste, to learn. If I could do it without sounding like an idiot, all the better.
And a short piece on the myths and truths of olive oil from the WSJ