Hanging out with Raja, Tonda, and Gentile Di Larino

Il Cantuccio NYC

91 Christopher Street

Last night, at Il Cantuccio, Gustiamo hosted part I of their oil tasting series. Next Tuesday Gustiamo will host part II; and is expecting more people to attend because the New York Times listed the event in their Dining Calendar.

(I am looking forward to the tasting next Tuesday. The person who taste all three oils and then join our tasting guessing game will be able to win a full new bottle of Olive oil…which are worth almost $40!)

I am grateful that I attended the one last night. Mainly because Beatrice and Stefano were there to educate me on tasting oil. I thought oil tasting was something easy, just dip your tongue in the oil and say yay or nay.

Nevertheless, there is a way to taste oil like there is a way to taste wine.

Stefano brought three mini plastic cups to the table. And filled each one with three different types of oil. (Beatrice said that if we were at a food show, instead of using plastic cups we would be using “mid-night purple” shot glasses to hide the color of the olive oils, since it has no effect on its quality ). Next he brought Cru di Cures, Il Tratturello, and Pianogrillo, which are the three types of oils we were tasting, and gave everyone as small portion.

However, before we even could lift up the cup to our mouths, Stefano told us to cover the top of the cup while slightly swirling it in the palm of our hands, all the while holding the bottom. This, he said, makes the oil warm and helps the the aroma to arouse. While we did this, Beatrice gave us history about each oil and the place where it was made.

Each olive has its own identity; therefore, each oil has its own identity.

Cru di Cures is made in Lazio, Italy. It is made with several kinds of olives: Leccino, Frantoio, Carboncella and Raja, the latter olive can be spotted the area in Lazio, which is called Sabina. 

Il Tratturello is made in Molise, Italy in the Lario mountains. It is made with one kind olive called Gentile di Larino.

Pianogrillo is made in Sicilia, Italy. The olives from a region in Sicilia near Iblea Mountains. The olives themselves are called Tonda Iblea. Tonda refers to the shape of the olive. Tonda means round. In addition, the oil from there is not just made with one olive but two or three kind of olives are crushed together to make a rich flavor.

What each oil have in common is they all are made with freshly, squeezed olives that recently just been picked. When the olive is first picked and then made into oil, is when it produces the best oil.  And each of these oils are made with fresh picked olives and no added preservatives.

When we finally got to taste the olive oil (after we sniffed the oil- I guess to awaken our senses), we didn’t just put the entire bit in our mouths. We had to kind of sip it and suck it down. It’s hard to describe what we had to do.

I didn’t do it right until later.

As for my preference. I enjoyed all of them. I think each one comes with its unique quality and wouldn’t mind buying all three. I don’t have a favorite just yet.


Another good oil site is: http://www.theolivemarket.com/tag/extra-virgin-olive-oil/

2 thoughts on “Hanging out with Raja, Tonda, and Gentile Di Larino

  1. Grazie Lilli for your post.
    I hope that your sensory experience was satisfactory. A note on our Tratturello: Made in Larino hills about 300 meters above sea level.
    Felice 2011!

  2. Nessun problema!
    I did have a great experience tasting oil. I think it is wonderful that Italians
    can taste oil and know of it’s qualities right away. It says a lot about the
    country and it’s people!
    Thanks for the extra note.
    Felice 2011!

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