An award-winning, complex-flavoured olive oil from Puglia
“We grow the ogliarola olives we use in this oil on our land in Puglia, which my grandfather, nonno Pasqualino, bought,” says Danilo Manco, founder of The Olive Oil Company. “He loved the trees like members of the family and I get my love of the trees and the oil they produce from him.” However, the ogliarola olives are not the whole story when it comes to Tre Foglie olive oil. “The name translates as ‘Three leaves’, because there are three olive oils in the Tre Foglie blend—coratina and peranzane olives are added to ogliarola to create the final blend.”
They chose olives with very different characteristics: the ogliarola oil has a green or yellow colour with a fruity aroma and notes of freshly cut grass, thistle, artichoke and chicory. It leaves a slightly spicy or bitter aftertaste, depending on when it was harvested; “the coratina olives produce oil which is intensely fruity and quite sharp on the palate. It has complex green fruit characteristics and a nice, big peppery finish.
“Peranzane is a very old and pure species of olive which is low in acidity with a very, light complex but balanced flavour. With them, we have created an oil that has a harmonious taste. Fresh, fragrant, full-bodied and beautifully balanced, with a taste of just-cropped olives.”
Full of character
This year Tre Foglie oil was awarded two stars at the Great Taste Awards. The panel were impressed by this olive oil in two areas: the first, of course, being the quality of the oil, which they described as distinctive and full of character, well-balanced and beautifully rounded with sweet notes, a slightly nutty flavour and a long buttery finish. “To have such comments from the panel about a blend we had created was very gratifying,” Danilo says, flashing a proud smile.
The second area was price. The panel said that it was great to see such a high-quality oil being sold at an affordable price, something else in which Danilo takes great pride. “It is very easy to produce a high-quality olive oil if you are going to sell it for £40 a litre or more,” he continues. “But we sell this at about £12.50 a litre, which makes it accessible to many more people.”
Danilo says that Tre Foglie is a wonderful everyday olive oil and not something to be reserved for special occasions. He suggests using it on grilled meats, bruschetta, or tomato and mozzarella salads—"In fact, it is so versatile it works well with most dishes that you would drizzle olive oil over.” Recipes like Angela Clutton’s olive oil, herb and garlic marinated goat’s cheese, Beca Lyne-Pirkis’ open tomato tart two ways, or Jenny Chandler’s pa amb oli i xocolata might be good places to start, when it comes to sampling the delights of your first bottle.
“You can cook with it, but I tend to restrict it to recipes like tomato sauces or other sauces where the oil used will be an important part of the flavour of the final dish,” Danilo says. “Putting cheap oil with good tomatoes will destroy the flavour, so Tre Foglie is perfect for this type of cooking. But as a rule, I wouldn’t use it for frying as I think that the quality of the oils gets lost this way.”
The Olive Oil Company started back in 2001, the idea for the company springing from the fact Danilo’s friends kept asking to buy the olive oil he was bringing in from Italy for his personal use. Sixteen years later, olives from his grandfather’s farm are winning and gaining fans on foreign shores. As a tribute to nonno Pasqualino’s love for his land, it doesn’t get much better than that.