I love finding new food suppliers – especially Italian. Quality ingredients are always important but with Italian food it is the quality of the ingredient that makes the dish – buy good ingredients and keep the dish simple.
I’ve been tasting olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Italiaregina.it – an Italian food and ingredients supplier. There were 3 flavours to test – their Extra Virgin Olive Oil, their Chili Pepper Oil and their Balsamic Vinegar.
I’m quite particular about extra virgin olive oil – there’s a huge variation in quality and a bad oil can ruin a dish. Extra virgin olive oil is generally going to be used uncooked – if you need oil to cook with use a normal olive oil and save the extra-virgin for tasting and finishing dishes off. However – some extra virgin olive oils can be very strong – almost acrid and can completely overpower a dish, especially something like a salad.
The extra virgin olive oil from Italiaregina.it is produced by Casa Rinaldi, a company formed in 1979 originally producing balsamic vinegar of Modena. After producing award-winning vinegars, the company now makes other ingredients including extra virgin olive oil.
The oil I sampled was pleasingly well balanced – Quite mellow but still had enough peppery twang to add a complexity without being overpowering. This really is an oil you could use in dressings, for dipping and for finishing off dishes to add a silky, slightly sweet but peppery finish. A perfect example of letting the ingredient speak for itself.
There was also a chili pepper oil – their extra virgin olive oil with a whole chili submerged in the oil. This chill oil wasn’t overly hot or spicy which was a relief because it means you can be generous with your portions without making your food too hot to eat. The obvious use for this would be drizzled over pizza but I think this would really come into its own with something like a ribollita adding a silky finish with a nice little hit of chilli.
And finally – the balsamic vinegar. This is quite a sweet balsamic vinegar but not artificially sweet like many of the shop-bought vinegars. Again, like the oil, there was a mellowness that made the ingredient incredibly versatile but really this balsamic vinegar suits being used on its own or mixed with the oil to make the perfect dipping ingredient for freshly made Italian breads.
I can’t fault these ingredients and will be interested to see what else their website can offer – http://Italiaregina.it