In this delicious season of grills, salads, and farm-fresh produce that needs almost no altering, the only thing that's missing is the right accent. Something subtle, but with a little flair—a secret weapon, ready to wow picnickers at your next potluck and the neighbors you're always tossing meat on the barbie for. Good thing infused vinegars, oils, and salts exist.
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[Photograph: nudo-italia.com] One of the best gifts I've probably ever given a friend was adopting a manatee in her name through the Save the Manatee Club. She received an actual photo of Brutus, her new sea cow bundle of joy, his bio, and a super official certificate. [Ed. note: this was very much inspired by manatee enthusiast Robyn.] Our weekend giveaway has nothing to do with manatees but it's another neat opportunity to support an adoptive cause. Nudo is a family-run co-operative of olive groves around a small hilltop village in the Marche region of Italy. Through this one-year adoption ($150), you get to follow the progress of your own tree—the olive variety is up to you—and of course...
Does good-quality, cheapish olive oil exist? We tried nine grocery store-bought olive oils—nothing over $20 per liter, with most bottles hugging the $10 price point. They ranged from buttery and mellow to peppery and cough-inspiring. Check out the results.
We are preparing for our next taste test installment: moderately-priced olive oils. Though it's tough to define "moderately-priced," we're sticking to quart-sized bottles south of $10 or so. Do you have a favorite brand? [Snaps to our reader Sarah for the suggestion!]...
While almost every other Italian store in the state has converted (with varying degrees of success) to a deli or takeout shop, Franco Piccolo has kept his place focused on what actual Italians actually need to make the food of their homeland.