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Best of Italy: Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil & DLM Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Like most great discoveries in the food business, this one began at a dinner lubricated with a glass of wine … likely a rustic Brunello. Some 20 years ago, my parents were at a home dinner party in Tuscany and met a young man named Alex along with his mother Lily. They live on a beautiful hillside, dense with ancient olive trees garnished by large bushes of fragrant jasmine, outside of a little town called Lucignano. At the time, Lily was exporting Italian-made leather purses and Alex was in the jewelry business. Their olive grove produced plenty but they never gave it much thought, other than bottling some oil for family and friends, and selling some locally.

After dinner, Alex gave a bottle to my parents to try and the rest is history. We loved it so much, we made it our own. We named it after my grandmother Vera Jane, the majority owner of DLM for most of its history, and decorate the bottle with a beloved photo of her from 1938.

Of all the products we put our name on, we are proudest of this one. We’ve tasted hundreds of oils, and this one is always in our top tier. It’s typically Tuscan with full-bodied flavor, and a healthy peppery kick. If you only want to buy one oil, this is it.

HOW TO USE VERA JANE’S EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL? DRIZZLE PLENTIFULLY.

I sometimes chuckle in the morning, rebelliously gently frying my local farm fresh eggs over easy in a small kiddie pool of high end olive oil. Years ago I remember reading an article in some fancy-schmancy food magazine about “strict” uses of first pressed extra-virgin for this, and instructions for use of pure olive oil for that.

Having seen first-hand how producers such as the Zanettis in Tuscany, the Palomars in Granada, and the Mahjoubs in Tunisia, to name a few, consume their great oils liberally, I’ve come to realize that extra-virgin olive oil is simply a great everyday food. No need for food snobbery here. A good olive oil is more than just a pretty bottle; it’s something you can feel good about using on all sorts of dishes.

Quality olive oil is a delicious healthy fat, and as such, is a perfect base for sauces, vinaigrettes, baking, and yes … frying eggs. Just take care to not use high-heat. Beyond that, it’s a wonderful finishing condiment that’s so good to drizzle on just about any food you like, from pizza to pasta, in soups and stews, and over steaks and potatoes.

DLM Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Moderna

Another friend we made on our tours of Italy was Maria Livia, in the food-loving city of Modena. Her family produces gorgeous balsamic vinegar, which we sampled cheerily from various old barrels. It was here that we chose our DLM blend on site.

We love it for its depth, richness, and complexity. Try drizzling our DLM Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena on your steak as it finishes on the grill or brushing a reduction on other meats, such as roast beef or lamb. Also put a few drops on fresh strawberries or drizzle on grilled vegetables. Since it is a sweet condiment derived from grapes, it also does very nicely on desserts, such as DLM Madagascar Vanilla Gelato and DLM Classic Coffee Cake.

 

From Prosciutto di Parma Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano to Spaghetti alla Carbonara, savor the intricate flavors of these adored products that represent some of the best of Italy.

 

Enjoy a taste of Italy with our Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and DLM Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Pairing!

 

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