November 12 2011
Unlikely but true: 50 years ago, in Britain, olive oil was something you bought at the chemists in discreet pharmaceutical quantities (its primary use being, evidently, for cleaning out the ears).
So, I’m happy to be alive at a time when the juice of the olive forms an irreplaceable part of a food-loving lifestyle, and there’s one oil in particular that adds dash and panache to my larder and my table: the Spanish brand, LA Organic.
For me, the appeal of LA Organic is partly in the packaging, which was designed by Philippe Starck: the chunky bottles and the slender tins are so chic, I often place them proudly on my table along with the flowers, rather than hiding them away in the cupboard. Indeed, they’re so fetching, you could do as I do, and take a can of LA Organic to a dinner party instead of a bottle of wine; it’s bound to make an impression.
But LA is strong on content as well as style. LA produces Spanish extra virgin olive oils from organically farmed olive groves in the southern provinces of Córdoba, Sevilla, Jaen, Málaga and Almería. The fruit of a blending process masterminded by Bordeaux wine whiz Michel Rolland and his wife Dany, these oils are so good they put most competitors firmly in the shade.
Top of the range, and my own favourite, is Oro Intense (€10.96 for 250ml) – recently voted one of the 20 best olive oils in the world by the Flos Olei organisation, and a delectable condiment whose rich, nutty flavours give way to a fine piquancy. I find that a few drops of this nectar, or better, a generous glug, will turn a piece of toast into a breakfast fit for a king.