When we find new artisan foods, sometimes it's the enthusiasm, magnetism, or drop-dead passion of their makers that attract our attention. Sometimes it's the profound flavor of their food. And sometimes, like with this oil, it's a combination of both.
Mo met Luigi Caricato a decade ago in Italy and was struck by the oil and the man who made it. His family has been making extra virgin olive oil in San Pietro in Lama since 1815. It's not as rambunctious as the other Pugliese oils. It's almost delicate, with a hazelnutty sweetness that's irresistible. Makes great vinaigrette with Banyuls Vinegar.
The fall 2011 harvest is exceptional. It smells like olive tapenade, with a mild sweetness. Buttery, with notes of green tomato and just a tickle of pepper in its long finish.