by Leslie Uhl, CCP
In light of recent events in the wide world of olive oils, I spoke with the one and only Scott C., Procurement Manager and expert on just about everything we import to our stores. Scott’s been a part of our famiglia for several years, and here’s what he has to say about our lovely selection of Italian olive oils:
“We have long-term relationships with our olive oil suppliers. Between Emilio [third generation owner and VP of Culinary Pioneering], Hunter [head of our Merchandising Department], other staff members, and myself, we’ve visited the majority of the suppliers that we work with, walked through their olive groves and seen their production facilities. [T]he vast majority of our olive oil producers grow and press their own olives in their own facilities – they are not buying olives from nebulous markets like Spain, Turkey or Northern Africa. These are real people and families, representing olive oil at its best and doing everything they can to undo the tarnish that less scrupulous producers have saddled the industry with.”
In fact, our commitment to providing the finest oils has included intensive training sessions hosted by the North American Olive Oil association, attended by leaders in our Marketing, Merchandising, and Import/Export divisions. Emilio Mignucci himself is an expert taster, and believe me, he’s never shy about imparting his knowledge to any Di Bruno associate available.
Another thing Scott was quick to point out is our well-known dedication to tasting and sampling. “[W]e regularly taste our olive oils as a staff – either in category reviews, as new product tastings, or when we’re sampling olive oils for inquisitive customers. We always have bottles open and we encourage our customers to ask for a taste.”
Why? Because “…[t]he proof is ultimately in the olive oil itself – olive oil is an ecological product and good olive oil will be different year to year based on the olive groves’ microclimate. If you’re buying grocery-store olive oil, it’s going to taste the same every time because it’s being produced and blended to have the same flavor, masking any impurities or imperfections coming from the raw materials.”
Our DB family encompasses all of the amazing producers who take such care in producing outstanding product year after year, and we’re as proud of them as we are of incredible food-lovers like Scott. His passion on the subject is, frankly, radiant and utterly intoxicating, leaving all rumors of those less-devoted to quality far behind. It never hurts to double check the standards of those who provide food for you and your loved ones—we know, because we’ve been doing it for you for over 75 years! You’re in la famiglia, too, dear reader.
My final question to Scott, of course, is what olive oil he simply can’t live without.
“My favorite olive oil is Olio Verde from the Becchina family just outside of Castelvetrano, Sicily. When the oil is fresh pressed, it’s verdant and luscious, with an aroma that reminds me of driving through the Sicilian countryside. Give me that oil and some crusty bread and I have my desert island meal.”
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