The Triumphant Return of Sicilian Olive Oil

To all of our passionate customers who have been checking in weekly on the status of our Sicilian Olive Oil, we have one thing to say: “Thank you.”
Thank you for your patience and enthusiasm, and thank you for keeping the pressure on us to relaunch this wonderful product. We believe your patience will be rewarded with the best olive oil we have ever bottled.

The Di Bruno Sicilian Oil has been our best-seller for years, but late last year, our tastemakers convened and decided that we could do better. We reached out to the producer, Manfredi Barbera, who arranged samplings of several styles of Sicilian oil. We experienced eye-opening tastings with different blends of Sicily’s three most prominent olives: Biancolilla, Cerasuola and Nocellara del Belice.

It’s all about the olives.

Of these, Biancolilla is the easiest to love.  It is buttery and nutty – specifically almond-y – with a sweetness throughout.  Cerasuola is the perfect foil, with aggressive, bitter and peppery notes.  Nocellara del Belice, known commonly as a table olive with the name Castelvetrano, is incredibly mild but has a great body and adds substance to the texture. We ended up enamored with a blend of 70% Biancolilla, 20% Cerasuola and 10% Nocellara del Belice.  All of the individual characteristics of the olives were present in this blend, with none of them overwhelming the others.  It is as close to perfect as we have tasted an olive oil.

Need more reasons to be excited?

This will be the first product produced under our brand name that will bear the PDO seal.  The Protected Designation of Origin is monitored by the Italian government and ensures that the products – be it olive oil, cheese, prosciutto or San Marzano tomatoes – are made to certain guidelines and standards that ensure extremely high quality.  Our PDO is for the Val di Mazara, a province that essentially makes up the western third of Sicily.

Triangulated by the cities of Palermo, Agrigento and Trapani, the valley between cities is sparsely populated and is the target of warm, dusty winds – call Sirocco – that originate in the Sahara dessert.  The sirocco blow red sand that mixes with and enriches the soil, creating a unique microclimate.  The olive groves are planted at the tops of the hills of this valley, typically at an altitude between 1,000-2,500 feet, when they are exposed so as much sunlight as possible.  This yields a more flavorful and complex fruit, and equally complex and nuanced olive oils.  This method has been followed since the Greeks colonized the area in the 8th century B.C.

About Manfredi Barbera

Our Vice President of Culinary Pioneering, Emilio Mignucci, in his own words:

“Manfredi Barbera was pressing and blending olives from Sicily to show the world how great Sicilian fruit was. The first time I tasted it, a light went off in my head. Until then we only sold commodity brands that were quickly becoming staples of local supermarket shelves. After tasting the Barbera olive oil and sampling it next to what we had on the shelves, it was clear to me that I needed to phase those out and start to look for more of the quality of estate oils that Manfredi was producing. I met Manfredi the first time that I went to the Fancy Food Show in NYC at the Javitz center. Manfredi spent an hour educating me on how to taste olive oil, and what to look for in its aromatics and texture. Then we spoke about how it is used in Italy. I realized then that we here in The States were much too casual about our food and we needed to think of our food as much more precious; we needed to stop taking it for granted. I credit Manfredi’s passion for a simple ingredient as my inspiration for wanting to eat and taste everything that I came across.”

New label. New Size.

We’re super excited to introduce this oil in two sizes: one liter and half liter.  Feedback from customers suggested that one liter was too much for some people to get through, and we listened.  Check them out, along with their sleek new design incorporating the bold red and yellow PDO emblem.

What’s the best way to use it?

We believe this oil is versatile enough that it will work in most applications.  Fruity and peppery, it’s an excellent oil for finishing salads, soup, seafood and even fresh cheese. In Sicily, it is always used in these classic dishes:

Caponata – with eggplant, olives and capers
Pasta con Sarde – pasta with sardines, fennel, pine nuts and raisins
Trapenese Pesto – using almonds instead of pine nuts, and with the addition of tomatoes
Couscous with either meat or fish
Grilled Swordfish (hello, easy 7 Fishes courses)
Sfincione (Sicilian pizza, ”svin-chee-OH-nay”) – with tomatoes, onions and anchovies
Maccu – a creamy chickpea soup

Recipes? Yep, we’ve got those too!

Fig Pizza with Chèvre Crumbles & Balsamic Glaze

Drizzle Sicilian Olive Oil and shredded mozz on shaped pizza dough, bake at 475 degrees for 5 minutes.
Top with torn pieces of prosciutto & sliced figs.
Bake for 6 more minutes.
Top with lightly-oiled arugula, chèvre crumbles and Balsamic Glaze.

End of Summer Pasta Salad

A pound of cooked pasta – Pastificio Fusilli con Buco
About a pint of various tomatoes cut into bite sized pieces
About a cup of fresh chopped herbs – basil, parsley, oregano
1 large minced garlic clove
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup grated parmesan
3/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar

Add chopped tomatoes to cooked pasta.
Whisk together 3/4 cup of olive oil with 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, add garlic, herbs, salt and pepper to make a dressing.
Drizzle the dressing and toss the pasta, then add the grated parm.