I was surprised to find not a single olive to knock my socks off at the Fancy Food Show. None were truly awful (unlike some of the chocolate I tasted) but nothing stood out as something super-special.
I guess I will stick to my old standbys, like the superb Divina Mt. Athos Red Pepper Stuffed olives.
I did, however, taste two great olive oils. I have always been partial to Spanish olive oils over the Italian ones, and the Valderrama Olive Oil did not disappoint. The suave Spanish sales guy (see coffee post below) explained that these oils were extracted within 45 minutes of picking to maintain all the fresh olive flavors. They sell a variety of single-varietal oils, and the three I tasted - arbequina, hojiblanca and something else - were all wonderful, each with its own flavor profile.
I didn't realize our friends down under were getting into the olive oil market but it figures - Australia has a nice Mediterranean climate, just like California, so it is only natural that they should want to grow olives as well as wine grapes.
I tasted some really fine oils from Silvertree of New South Wales. Like Valderrama, they take pride in processing the oils soon after picking. These oils tasted fresh, green, grassy and full of life. They were significantly different than either Italian or Spanish olive oils, a whole different animal. I liked them a great deal and look forward to trying more Aussie olive oils.