05 Dec

The difficulty in finding the finest olive oil

By Alex Renton,

Oil pressed from the first green olives is a taste like no other. But fraud means that finding a good one is hard.

The green of the olive oil is shocking: like Night Nurse. Or Swarfega. You wouldn’t put it in your mouth if it wasn’t so reassuringly expensive. With reverence, we poured it into white china saucers and offered it round to the supper guests with warm flatbread.

Tasting the oil was a show in three acts: the first, smooth and scented; then a trumpet blast of green pepperiness and a long, redolent finale that brought out the guests’ fancy adjectives: “almondy”, “citric”, even “raw caulifloweresque”. The words I used were “acidic” and “scary”.

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