Northern California has become a buzzing hub of olive oil production, producing so many varietals, we're having trouble keeping up -- and having plenty of delicious fun trying. And our latest discoveries are too good not to share:
Jalapeño olive oil: We were sceptical when this bottle of Calivirgin Jalapeño Olive Oil arrived, and even more dubious when we were told to try it on our summer corn. Now we're simply besotted. Olives and jalapeño peppers enter the press together at Lodi's Coldani Olive Ranch, and what emerges is a luxurious, slightly spicy oil that's sure to delight any lover of Latin flavors or chile peppers. It's simply sensational. And we're not the only people who think so -- the oil won a best of show award at the 2011 California Olive Oil competition in the flavored oils category. A 250 mL bottle is $18 at the Pasta Shop in Oakland and Berkeley and online at www.markethallfoods.com.
Frantoio Grove olive oil: When Jeff Martin planted this Gilroy olive grove six years ago with Frantoio, a Tuscan varietal, he hoped that someday he would harvest enough to make his own pungent olive oil. That day finally has arrived, and the deep green results are particularly heavenly drizzled over fresh mozzarella or sopped up with a piece of ciabatta. Martin suggests pouring a little over ice cream, too. The 2011 bottling is $20 for a 375 mL