Where will you find the best olive oil in Ireland?

“If you see Jamie Oliver cooking [Italian food] on telly, he will have a bottle of Fontodi to hand.” David Gleave, Master of Wine and MD of Liberty Wines, was in Dublin to give a masterclass in olive oil on Tuesday, and the Tuscan oil favoured by Oliver – who uses it in his restaurants – was one of a selection that he presented for a tutored tasting.

“Look for the vintage on the bottle, that’s a key thing; the younger the better,” says Gleave, introducing the new 2016 vintages from his company’s portfolio, now on sale in selected wine shops and specialist food shops here and in the UK.

Six little cups of olive oil, ranging in colour from mellow gold to bright green, and crystal clear to cloudy, await the tasting panel in Jamie’s Italian in Dundrum. No bread is on offer – that’s a definite no no as the flavours in the bread could mask those in the oils.

Irish producers

Making olive oil is undoubtedly hard work, compounded by challenging weather conditions and environmental factors such as plant pests, including the olive oil fly. But still, that pride is shared by most who set out to do it and do it well – and that includes some Irish-based producers who each winter return to their roots, or their holiday homes, to make olive oil and bring it back to sell here.

Lino Olivieri spends part of each year on his family farm in the Gargano National Park in Puglia, where he runs an agritourismo business in summer and makes olive oil in winter. Back in Dublin, he sells the oil at markets and through specialist food shops, and ships it nationwide. See olivierioliveoil.com.

Source :  Irish Times