Two things I really like are fancy food and free stuff, so when somebody emailed me asking if I'd like to sample this super-fancy brand of olive oil, I said sure. I won't mention just any product on here but if it's like to be delicious and something I couldn't afford otherwise, then all aboard.
I got my bottle in the mail from Greece the other day and decided that last night, as I had two hours of "American Idol" and an hour of "America's Next Top Model" to review, plus a lunar eclipse to deal with, was a perfect opportunity to hunker down with a nice simple meal and taste some olive oil.
It was hard to open the damn thing, though, because as you can see, the bottle is very pretty:
But when you have a journalistic task, you must persevere.
As a comparison, I decided to taste the Lambda alongside the stuff I had from the grocery store, which cost about $12 if I remember correctly:
Before I poured them out, I did a sniff test. I'm not naturally a food writer so it's kind of hard to describe the smell of the Lambda except that there definitely WAS a smell, that sort of heady olive oil smell-taste that hits the upper-back part of your mouth. I thought I detected a hint of lemon but I thought maybe I was just stupid, but according to the bottle the oil is 'fruity' so I decided I was correct. In comparison, the Berio had almost no smell unless I put my nose directly to the bottle.
I poured them out and they looked pretty much exactly the same. The Lambda seemed like it was slightly less viscous than the Berio but I don't know if that even means anything:
So it was time to eat. I had purchased a little ciabatta bread from the grocery store in my office building earlier and paired it with a nice and simple beet soup I had made and frozen last week. Now doesn't this look good?
I wouldn't necessarily call myself an olive oil connoisseur but I think I've tasted enough of it in my life to tell the difference between one that stands alone, taste-wise, and one that's more utilitarian and doesn't really add much flavor. I added a little kosher salt and cracked pepper to the olive oil and could definitely taste that Lambda is a high-quality oil. It was heady and actually had a full taste to it, whereas the Berio, in comparison, tasted thinner, even kind of plasticky. Normally when I dip bread in olive oil I try to do it a bit sparingly, since you're not supposed to lap it up by the spoonful, but the Lambda definitely was a good 'eating' olive oil.
The press on this olive oil indicates that it's being branded almost like a perfume--it's a couture olive oil, it's the Cartier of olive oils. Me, I don't like to think about fashion when I eat, because that makes me not want to eat. But it is really tasty. Would I spend $50 on it? Sure, if I had $50 to spend on olive oil, but in the meantime, I'll have to use my usual grocery-store version, but I'll save the Lambda for special occasions, like nice antipasto plates, fancy pasta dishes or a lunar eclipse.
Now if anyone wants to send me some gourmet crackers, cheese, salami or a ticket to Greece to go with my olive oil, I will do my best to give you the same objective treatment.