As an Italian foodie, olive oil has always been a part of my life. When I was a child, my favorite thing on Sundays would be when my father took a few slices of Italian bread, would heat them up in the oven, rub a little garlic on them, and drizzle them with olive oil. We would eat the warm bread and taste the oil, garlic combination, maybe with a sprinkle of salt. Looking back on it – a truly simple thing. But as a child, I thought it was a true treat. And it tasted so good. It’s actually funny, it was easily 25 years ago, 30 years ago, and I remember the texture of the bread, the oil and salt…
A friend of mine at work is Greek. Our running joke has always been “so what are you cooking this weekend ?” George has family in Greece, and has visited them often. George appreciates true food, the connection between family and love and food. One day George asked me if I like olive oil. Long story short – George’s family lives in Sparta (which in and of itself is pretty cool), and they have olive groves. It is from his grandfathers small mountainside village that his cousins pick and press the olives into this surreal oil.
I’ve been lucky to work in a gourmet food store that sold many different types of oils from around the world. I’ve eaten in restaurants around the world that have offered oils from different regions. I can say, hands down, that this is the best olive oil that I have had the fortune to consume. It is beautiful to look at, and even just tasted as an oil by itself, it leaves me wanting more.
As I was taking pictures of this earlier, I took the spoon and tasted the oil – and it was an explosion of pepper and bite and brightness. Many oils are more oil than flavor, or they are such a sublime subtle flavor that whatever you put the oil on overpowers it. Spartan Pure is so different in that it truly compliments the food you pair it with. And that is the difference – this oil is paired with your food, instead of hiding with it.
Before I met my wife, I ate avocados like a barbarian (tabasco and a little dollop of mayo). My wife showed me the path to enlightenment. Avocado with sea salt sprinkled over it, fill the gap left by the pit with a good olive oil, drizzle with fresh lemon juice, crack some pepper on top of it. I can tell you this – even with your normal extra virgin olive oil, this can be quite a tasty experience. The first time that we had avocados with Spartan Pure – it was beyond delicious. We were sitting around the dinner table with the kids. I had cooked a whole chicken, the kids were enjoying their chicken and pasta. Karin and I split an avocado, made her way (the only way!). The first bite of avocado with Spartan Pure was really incredible. You tasted the oil, the flavors worked in concert with the lemon and pepper; the smooth creaminess of the avocado complimented the roughness of the cracked pepper – the mouthfeel was awesome and the flavors danced together so well. Needless to say – we had another avocado, and then poured more olive oil on our plates and ate it with our chicken.
The one thing that George told me, that I completely agree with, is this: this olive oil is made to be enjoyed. So we don’t just use it with avocados and bread but I use it in all of my cooking as well. I know that olive oil is good for you – the right fats, and antioxidants. Those are the health benefits, but we enjoy this olive oil because it just tastes so real. It tastes like olive oil should taste.
Because I love it so much, I have given bottles of it to my friends who appreciate great foods. This is not only a great food, but has such an awesome story behind it. And I think it is so great that George shares it with me, as he only imports a small amount of each year.
George is in the process of getting Spartan Pure into specialty shops in the Boston area. In the meantime, you can follow him on Twitter @SpartanPure or on Facebook @SpartanPureOliveOil