Our fine artisanal barrel-shipped vinegars made from sparkling cava, from Priorat red wines, from Catalan vermouth and moscatell wine. Timeless. Barcelona. Roman Tarragona. Penedes and the Priorat – their lovely vistas and smashing red wines. Vic and its pork products. Garrotxa and its cheese. Empuries and its Greek and Roman ruins. La Costa Brava. Gaudi and Dali. The anchovies of Escala. We could not care less about Ferran Adria, but that’s us.
So imagine my trepidation when this container of our literally brand-new ‘house’ Fairway extra-virgin un-filtered Catalan arbequina olive oil arrived. Would it taste and smell as good as it did when I chose it? Would the great Pere Mateo of Olis De Catalunya manage to pull this off at the price I demanded? Am I going to be disappointed?
Imagine my elation upon having ripped open a case of the liter bottles, twisted off the cap, up-ended the bottle to my lips and allowed a rather huge glug to flood my palate. Without even bothering to take a hard sniff at the oil before tasting it, I began to taste it. It is a dream. It tastes far better than I even remember the best arbequina olive oil of my life tasting.
And now that I have taken its fragrance measure, I can also report that it smells like some kind of flower blossom I cannot attach a name to. Sort of like jasmine, but not. The first flavor sensation is a sweetness, a vanilla sensation. The second perception is an up-front bitterness that delights me like the smell of fine leather. The third articulable sensation is one of intense nuttiness – almonds, green almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts – and butter, and of course olives. This is definitive arbequina olive oil. A long, pepperless, gentle finish, an olive oil with that suave sophistication that is the hallmark of arbequina olive oil.
I am elated. Exuberant. I cannot WAIT for you to taste it. I should double the price on it right this minute. We are GIVING this stuff away.