When Mr. C. was visiting his hometown in the South of Italy in autumn, he came back with a selection of olive oils that he had bought at the airport. Some were flavoured and one was a Novello (‘young’) oil. Of course he always claimed that the best olive oil comes from Puglia. Surely the Spanish and the Greek would disagree, even other Italian regions would disagree. As for me, I was able to distinguish a good oil from a lower quality one but it didn’t matter much to me if it was from Spain or Greece or Italy. But now that I tasted the oils from Frantoio Galantino, I am truly addicted to Pugliese olive oil. As the Galantino oil press happens to be really close to Mr. C’s hometown, we took the chance to visit them when we were down south after Christmas.
It was such a great and fun experience. We entered through the wrong door so we had to walk through people’s offices to reach the showroom which was at the same time the shop. An elderly gentleman came after us and started to show us around. He showed us a binder full of thank you emails from allover the world before he sent a young man over, to give us more information on the production of the oils and let us try all the oils we wanted. We ended up testing almost the whole collection, which is quite a range. He drizzeled a bit of the oil onto pieces of fresh bread that was ready on little plates while explaining the process of the production of the oil. He gaves us details on the different qualities and we also learned that all their flavoured oils are done with natural ingredients. Which means that e.g. in the case of the lemon oil, they simply add fresh lemons when they press the olives. All is done without any artificial add-ons or extracts.
After tasting the oils, it was hard to decide on the favourites. Mine I guess are the mint oil (great on raw vegetables like cucumber or fennel, with grilled meat or fish, or to give the pesto sauce a special touch) and the lemon oil (amazing with carpaccio and fish). Mr C. loves the ‘Bel Tocco’ (herbed oil) and the Novello. The tastes are so pure and natural and since we discovered their herbed oil, thats all we sprinkle over our salads now. No vinegar or anything.
We bought about 15 bottles of different sizes and tastes for ourselves, family and friends (guys, consider yourself lucky!). One of them even made its way to the Australian desert. But good news for all the virtual friends: Galantino does ship abroad and the prices are good! We keep saying that we should start importing the Galantino oil to Switzerland.
Later back home we checked the video they have on their website that shows the olive oil making process. We learned that they won lots of prices and that was also when we realised that the elderly gentleman was Michele Galantino, the owner. It was his office we stumbled through! Amazing that the owner personally took the time to welcome us.
If you want to learn more about the processing of the olives and the production of a truly great olive oil, check out their video on the website!
Pictures courtesy of Frantoio Galantino.