There’s been some clamorous press about oils from Europe being fraudulent and adulterated. Sure–lots of the big brand, generic grocery store EVOOs are pretty much worthless. But our exclusive import oils are just that. We’ve been there, to the very source, in sunny Sicily or the bucolic Languedoc or rugged Extremadura. We wandered the olive groves and stayed for long meals and longer conversations. Much of our oil is bottled ourselves, and all is swigged by Steve upon arrival to make sure it stands up to our sky-high standards.
But I digress. Our little olive growers and olive oil makers who have been toiling the soil for generations know how to make some delicious oil. But California olive oil can be good, too. Really good. On its own accord. Not just because it is pure, and it is domestic, but because it is high quality oil with lovely flavor. Something you’d be proud to drizzle over your finest of culinary achievements.
Enter Bill Sanders. He’s a sort of olive oil missionary, with a blog and a vision: to promulgate the virtues and fabulousness of good olive oil. He’s been writing and teaching for over a decade, and last year he decided to get his hands dirty and make his own EVOO.
The first harvest of First Fresh came out with a bang. Everyone loved it. We loved it, and bought a bunch of cases. The press went crazy. It won the Prestige Gold award at the TerraOlivo Mediterranean International Olive Oil Competition in Jerusalem, and a Silver Medal at the California Olive Oil Council’s annual competition.
Last weekend, Bill came to several of our stores to show off his oil, and you guys loved it, too. He sold out in no time, and we were clamoring to try to get more.
First Fresh is made near Corning, California from 19th, 20th and 21st century trees. It’s a blend of arbequina olives (for super juice and fruity notes), manzanillas (for velvety, buttery, lush texture), and ascolano (for just a little bit of pepper and spice on the finish).
The name says it all–Bill’s oil is all about freshness, and uses only the most recent harvest’s olive juice. You can taste that–it’s a bright, clean, sweet, lip-smacking oil. It’s too good–and pricy (we charge $20)–to use for cooking. Put it out on the table and generously drizzle your pasta, cheese, grilled meats, and veggies. Perfect for pesto, in vinaigrettes, or my favorite of all–splashed over burrata and fresh tomatoes, with a few leaves of basil and a sprinkle of fleur de sel.