Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Tom Alfonso, who is opening Alfonso Gourmet Olive Oils and Balsamics, says he’s working with an importer from California that has exclusive trade-agreements with olive farmers in Greece, Chile, Austrailia, Tunisia and many other countries. He will carry about 25 different olive oils at a time, introducing new varieties as time goes on.
Alfonso is also bringing in 19 different Balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy, some of which have been aged as long as 18 years.
Now for a quick tutorial on quality olive oil: Alfonso says some oils are suited only for drizzling or dipping. Others contain more polyphenols, which makes them better for cooking because they hold up better at higher temperatures.
Alfonso says olive oils are traditionally created twice a year, and that the two “crush dates,” are different depending on whether the farm is in the northern and southern hemisphere. All of the oil he sells arrives in the U.S. about 30 days after it’s produced, which maintains flavor and quality.
The flavor-infused olive oils and balsamics are made by crushing things like fruit or garlic with the olives or grapes. No artificial flavors are added.
The oil will be dispensed from big metal “fusti” - the Italian plural form of the word “tank” — which will allow customers to sample prior to purchasing.
Expect cooking demonstrations with local chefs and tastings when the store opens in mid-October.