Olive Oil for the Locals

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In September 2012, my man and I drove from Zurich Switzerland to Milan Italy. He had never been to Italy; I had never been to Milan. The three hour trip took us through the rolling green hills and sunlit snow-capped mountains of Switzerland to a somewhat bleak Northern Italy. Surprised by the lackluster welcome as we crossed the border, we drove a little farther south and noticed a beautiful oasis of sparkling water and colorful manors built into a verdant hillside. The arrow said “Lake Como” to our left. There was no longer any hope for a trip to Milan. Our two day Italian retreat would start and end in a town built around a lake, love, and olives.

Staying at the Villa d’Este was his way of spoiling me – so I had to return the favor. I visited a small local market in Cernobbio and brought home Italian made pasta, prosciutto as a salty treat and a most charming bottle of olive oil from a local olive grove. The market owner raved about the oil, rumor is – all the local chefs and their Nonnas (grandmothers) cook only with this olive oil.

The Vanini Osvaldo is a local olive press where olives are hand-picked from their trees, stone ground and cold pressed. Como is privy to the northernmost grown olives which make for a penetratingly grassy aroma and a bright yellow color which looks beautiful all alone on a simple white plate, or drizzled over a light spring vegetable soup.

I have yet to find a local grocer who sells Vanini Osvaldo Olive Oil, so I’ve been using mine sparingly. Once I’ve emptied the bottle over it’s worth in pasta, bread, soups and pesce – I will bring back our memories of Como with another bottle. It’s worth the importing. You can buy this Italian treat at the olive press’ personal site, here: http://www.oliovanini.it/store/olio-extra-vergine.

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