The price of oil


FOOD FILE:  An eagerly awaited precious cargo of "green gold" arrived in Dublin last week, having travelled from a farm in the hills of the Gargano National Park in Puglia, southern Italy. The farm belongs to the family of Lino Olivieri, who is trading manager with Amnesty International in Dublin.

Olivieri's family cultivates more than 1,200 olive trees, some of which are more than 200 years old. The olives for their Colletta Olivieri olive oil were picked in mid-October, and stone-pressed in the traditional manner, producing an extra virgin oil that the family describes as having "a full-bodied, buttery flavour with hints of pepper, almond, vanilla and wild herbs".

A limited supply of the oil is going on sale next week in five-litre cans costing €40. It can be purchased at La Bottega di Paolo, 5 Blooms Lane, Ormond Quay, Dublin 1 (, 01-8880835); the Dublin Food Co-Op, 12 Newmarket, Dublin 8 (, 01-4544258); Goldwater, 17 Terenure Road North, Dublin 6 (01-4928110), and directly from Olivieri at or 086-8681803.

If five litres is surplus to your olive oil requirements, check out the Monello Novello extra virgin olive oil from Monini. This "new harvest" oil is a seasonal treat, marketed in much the same way as Beaujolais Nouveau. It's made with the first olive crops of the season and is unfiltered, resulting in a slightly cloudy appearance, and an oil bursting with character. It's not usually available outside Italy - you know how they like to keep the best for themselves - but William Rochford of BR Foods has secured an allocation which has gone on sale in selected Superquinn branches for €9.99 for a 750ml bottle. It's only going to be available for a limited time, so buy it if you see it.