From Extra Virginity:
“…Wine’s effects on us are vivid and swift, while oil works on the body in hidden ways, slow and lingering in the cells and in the mind, like myths. Wine is merry Dionysus; oil is Athena, solemn, wise, and unknowable.
Wine is how we would like life to be, but oil is how life is: fruity, pungent, with a hint of complex bitterness-extra virginity’s elusive triad.”
Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil is, surprisingly, quite the page-turner. Tales of scandal with delicious detours into the history and ceremony of olive oil will change the way you look at this kitchen staple forever.
Mueller begins his story with the De Carlo clan, a family struggling to balance tradition and technology in an industry with a shrinking profit margin, at least for those unwilling to add inferior ingredients or use industrial solvents. From there, he seamlessly weaves the stories of chemists, criminals, and growers into this insightful tale.
Olive oil is big business; so much so that it incites late-night robberies, complicated heists, and even organized crime. It is no surprise that a commodity so valuable is often tainted or diluted, nor is it surprising that big business has masked low quality oils with misleading marketing and attractive packaging.
Mueller offers guidance on finding authentic olive oil, a list of resources, and a glossary that provides more information and further breakdown of some of the books terms. We especially loved seeing Zingermans as a trusted source.
We’re eager to sample and open to suggestions. If you have a recommendation for a great extra virgin olive oil, please leave it in the comments below.