Cordioli came to us through a longtime friend, reporter Dany Mitzman, an Englishwoman who’s lived in Bologna for twenty years. Dany always has interesting insights into what’s happening on the Italian food scene so when she said she had a really delicious new oil lead it didn’t take me long to follow up.
What she had was only oil on I've tried from the Veneto region of northern Italy. Where the oils of Tuscany (which I also love) are sharp and green and bold enough to wake you up on a drowsy afternoon, Verona is at the other end of the spectrum. Soft, sweet, lulling.
“Our property has been planted with olive trees for over a century,” the maker Ceil told me. “When we bought it about sixteen years ago the land was extremely overgrown. My husband, Erminio, with his father cleared the land in their spare hours, with help.
“Our good fortune,” she goes on, “is that this piece of land is on a slope that faces southwest, and therefore gets sun most of the day, which is great for the olives." Unlike many of the modern olive oil producers, the Cordioli olive oil is a very small production.They have fewer than four hundred trees. When you consider that a tree makes a few liters of oil each year, you can figure the math. The northerly climate and the hilly terrain mean that the yields are low, but the flavor is high. Olives are picked by hand and pressed within hours of leaving the tree.
One taste will tell you that their careful work has paid off handsomely. The oil is a lovely golden-green color with an impressive aroma of fresh cut grass. The flavor is soft but full, luxurious but accessible, delicate but totally delicious, mellow but with a notable pinch of pepper in its finish. It’s ideal for icy lettuce, delicious for just-cooked asparagus, perfect for delicate pasta dishes and definitely well suited to fresh fish.
The fall 2015 harvest is rather bold and peppery. It has a bright aroma of green banana and fresh-cut grass. The flavor is quite green, like spinach or kale, with a strong peppery finish that comes on quickly.