Bread & Olive Oil, Not Just an Antipasto.

Light things can come in heavy packages

One of my favorite things that I remember Italian or Mediterranean fusion restaurants in the US serve was a plate bread and a few select olive oils as you were waiting for the antipasti (starters). I still love to watch the oil form a small puddle on a small white saucers, dip in the bread and taste different oils.

A puddle of tasty apulia olive oil - finger dipping good

The only curious thing about this good idea is that I’ve never seen it in restaurants in Italy. Well, once. But that was about ten years ago in an olive-oil themed place that had just opened in Milan. The owner got the idea after a few years working in restaurants in the US.
That is probably the only way Olive oil is not commonly served in restaurants here. But dripping good oil on good bread is still a passion of mine.
So when my friend Edoardo gave me what looked like a designer thermos and asked me to try the olive oil within, the first thing that came to mind was to soaking some freshly sliced bread with it and giving it a try.
Climate and variety does have a strong impact on the characteristics of olive oil, so when he told me it was Puglia, I had my doubts. Puglia (known as “Apulia” in English) is the heel of Italy’s boot and a major olive producer with a reputation for dense, rich, strong olive oils. Eduardo must have noticed what I was thinking because he added – “It’s not like you expect.”

A bottle of Bio Leave olive oil and an original statue by Alik Cavaliere

So last night, when I pulled it out to try with a slice of bread before dinner, I was pleased to learn he was right. This is a delicate, yellowish, lighter oil, and its low acidity made it roll smoothly over my tongue.
The name – Bio Leaf – and the packaging are unusual. I might even say courageous. But they both have a reason. “Bio” is because, as you would expect, the olives are grown and the oil is pressed using strict environmentally friendly methods. And the form and color of the bottle are to protect the oil from temperatures and the light.  It should should be available in parts of the US (for more information, try http://www.bioleafgroup.com).

By the by the way, Italians do love olive oil on bread. Silvia tells me that her after school or snack was often a slice of the rustic, dense bread L’Aquila is famous with the light, low-acidity oil from Navelli soaked in. And Sofia and I love both cleaning our salad bowl with a slice of bread. What better way to taste an excellent oil than on a great Italian bread – even the unsalted Tuscan loaf.
Much more fun than sucking it out of little cups as olive oil tasters do.

– Joshua Lawrence

Bread and Olive Oil

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Bio Leaf Olive Oil on Bread - Fresh

Bread and Olive Oil - Sunny Side Up

Olive Oil on FoodistaOlive Oil

5 responses to “Bread & Olive Oil, Not Just an Antipasto.

  1. Pingback: Bread & Olive Oil, Not Just an Antipasto. « Carbonara's Weblog | ClubEvoo

  2. it’s true! bread with oil is the best and complete food over all with a good italian oil like Olio Dante http://www.oliodante.com

  3. simple and delicious….God’s food!

  4. Ciao Maria Filice! Loved the bit on Abruzzo bruschetta with pecorino cheese from this great regione.
    http://foodandfate.blogspot.com/2010/03/little-abruzzo-kick-to-your-bread.html

  5. A great way to get my daily “fix” of a quality extra virgin olive oil.

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