Monday, May 28, 2007

Food conference in Victoria

This week I will be attending the Association for the Study of Food and Society Conference, which is in Victoria. There will be sessions on everything concerning food from biodiversity to nineteenth-century culinary writing. This is always a wonderful conference that is well attended by academics and culinary enthusiasts from all over North America and the world.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Terroir, again

I was reading the New York Times Magazine on the plane and came across an interesting article on terroir, "Talk Dirt to Me". I know I've already written about this subject but I thought this article's findings were worth sharing. Essentially, what the author argues is that the terroir taste of wine does not come from the actual minerals in the soil where vines are grown. Many wine tasting notes talk about minerality or a mineral flavour; however, this apparently does not come directly from the rocky soil. Terroir can not be taken to literally mean earth in this sense.

In my opinion terroir is a complex relationship between land and culture. This is particularly well demonstrated by olive oil production: climate and soil determine what cultivars (varieties of olive trees) can grow in the area; unique agricultural techniques develop over time and become local traditions; cuisine is shaped around local products and growing seasons.

When I pour some olive oil from Amelia on a piece of toasted bread I do taste the colli Amerini. It is different than any other olive oil and is a reflection of each unique year. I never imagined I could taste the rocky red soil but I do know that for me the taste of Amelia Oil is one tied to place, a place that is large in my memory and personal experience.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Blog On Holiday

I am off to South East Asia for a few weeks so my blog is going to be on holiday. However, I hope to return to a big shipment of olive oil from Amelia. Realistically, I think we can expect to see our oil in early June. If you would like to place your order and secure your supply, get in touch with Rebecca, who will be at home working hard,

Alla prossima...


Friday, May 04, 2007

Turismo del vino at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver

Last Tuesday night I was invited to talk about my olive oil experience in Italy and Canada for a course at the Italian Cultural Centre. The course is called Turismo del vino and it is being organised by CNIP Puglia to promote commercial relations and tourism between Italy and Canada in the area of food and wine cultural tourism. The class is largely taught in Italian, with instructors flown in from Italy, and the students are Italian citizens who are residents of Canada. At the end of the 800-hour course, they will fly to Puglia, Italy for a 100-hour practicum. Needless to say, I was intrigued and thrilled to participate for an evening.

When I arrived, I was greeted by this week's out-spoken and lively instructor, Betty Mezzina. We tried to devise a plan for our lesson, but I could tell it was going to be a bit of Italian-Canadian improvisation. Betty, a wine and olive oil sommelier from Puglia, went into the finer details of olive oil production and tasting techniques. I talked about my personal experience, the olive oil business and the complicated logistics of importing oil from Italy. I tried to stress the fact that it is all about human relations and building relationships with everyone involved in the process from production to customs brokering. I think Betty did a great job of stressing the diversity of taste and quality that can be found on the shelves.

When we got down to tasting the oil, I was pleased that Amelia Oil was once again the favourite in a blind tasting. The proof really is in the pudding.

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