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Olive Oils With Pedigree

Ligurian San Damiano is one of Olio2go's small producers. (Olio2go)

When I buy good olive oil, I’m not only searching for taste but a story. At Olio2go, a Fairfax-based online retailer, there are a lot of good yarns behind the Italian oils.

There's the San Damiano, a Ligurian extra virgin oil imported by Elisabetta Grow, an Italian who married an American and relocated to Kansas. There's the Marfuga L’affiorante, an oil pressed from the first harvest of the season at a famous Umbria estate. Just 1500 liters are produced. And while you can find some Marfuga oils at stores such as Williams-Sonoma, only Olio2go gets the L'affiorante.

Olio2go opened in 2000 but has remained remarkably under the radar, serving a loyal group of food-loving and health-obsessed customers. (The store was featured in Dr. Barry Sears' book, "The Anti-Inflammation Zone," which recommends olive oils with high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols.)

But browsing the Web site is a treat for any serious cook. You can search by name or by region. In Tuscany, you'll find more peppery oils; Sicilian bottles offer a grassy, floral flavor. The most popular, says manager Luanne Savino O'Loughlin, are the Olio Beato, an unfiltered, very reasonably priced organic oil from Puglia ($23.95 for 750 ml) and the Olio Verde, a Sicilian extra virgin that comes in a distinctive square bottle ($34.95 for 500 ml).

Olio2go has also recently expanded its offering to include what O'Loughlin calls Italian pantry items. The decision was timed to the owners' opening of Piazza Italian Market in Easton. (Has anyone been? Would love to hear about it if you have.) There are pastas, mostardas, sauces and olive oil-focused cookbooks. I'm yearning for the pear mostarda from Mantua and Puglian estate Villa Cappelli's sugar "crack" almonds (their name, not mine.)

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  August 24, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Shopping  | Tags: Jane Black, olive oil  
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