Luxury Olive Oil, Period.
So I received this darling, pochette handbag-size, 100ml, sample bottle of Olio Piro., a 100% Italian blend extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)to test in my everyday cooking. It’s Tuscan born in the volcanic soil of Mount Amiata in Maremma region from mountain fruit, grown above the Brunello di Montalcino vineyards. Olives have been cultivated in this area since the ninth century and were believed to be introduced by the Benedictine monks, giving the OlivastraSeggianese varietal a long legacy as the only variety that can thrive in those heights. Olivastra Seggianese is the main olive in this EVOO, which is also blended with other varieties, such as Leccino, Moraiolo and Frantoiano. It’s produced by critically acclaimed oil olive (OO) producers, Romain Piro and Daniele Lepori, and distributed in the US by Romain’s sister and Miami transplant, now 23-year local, Marie-Charlotte Piro, informally known here as Charlotte.
What struck me first was Piro. was bottled fresh in this palm-size format that could easily be carried around in a purse as a personal condiment to drizzle savory, plant-based enrichment with health advantages in any setting, a not-so-guilty pleasure of “fat is flavor with benefits.” And how did I know my little bottle was fresh? It had blanks on the back of it, which were handwritten with the Harvest Month/Year, Lot and Best Before End. Mine was harvested on 10/20 from Lot EL and its best before 6/22. “We only sell our current harvests,” noted Charlotte. I received my sample in May 2021, so expiration is not an issue as it will only take a short minute for me to tap 3.4 ounces.
Then I went on to note this EVOO was a winner! I mean, most olive oil bottles are not decorated with awards and this one had 3 on its sample bottle alone. So it stands to reason if olive oil is considered liquid gold, then award-winning Piro. can claim to be the gold standard of liquid gold with its golden streak of gold medals in the last couple years. This best in class and even 2021 Best In The World in the blended, medium fruitiness category, received this recognition in the FlosOlei Guide, a guide to the world of EVOO, and considered to be the preeminent point of reference for high quality OO. Piro. also took a Gold Award in the 2019 and 2020 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, considered the largest and most prestigious olive oil quality contest, and then struck Gold again those same years at Olive Japan 2019 and 2020, International Olive Oil Competition. They even outshined the competition in the London International Olive Oil Competitions (IOOC) with a Platinum in the category of Health Competitions 2018 and a Gold in the category of Quality Award 2020.
Wait, health competitions and luxury olive oil? Well, we have always heard that EVOO is heart healthy, but are all olive oils created equal? Apparently, not! Piro. is the first cold-extracted EVOO with naturally elevated levels of polyphenols and is even marketed on their label as High Antioxidant Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Cold extraction is cleaner and allows it to retain more nutrients. It’s EVOO with a booster, containing“3 to 4 times more antioxidants than the best brands, i.e.,800mg vs. the standard 200-300mg per liter,” noted Charlotte, who also went on to say, “Polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in EVOO, has anti-inflammatory properties, prevents cellular damage and boosts the immune system. Additionally, this virgin oil is composed of 83% oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that protects against heart disease.” OK, check, check, check and check. It is also thought that regular consumption of polyphenols protects against Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease, as well as believed to enhance brain health and digestion. Refined olives oils just can’t match these health benefits, so Piro. shots all around with a cheers and cincin!
So what could make it more appealing, besides a bigger bottle? Well thankfully, they already have those more ample versions in 250ml and 500ml bottles. First, yields are very low and production is extremely limited, with their total annual volume of EVOO at about 10,000 liters(equivalent to around 2,600 gallons only).This means it’s rare and special. They don’t skimp on the quality for quantity, and they only use the best methods without consideration of the cost.
When harvesting, it’s a labor-intensive, manual production with 24-hour straight workdays for 6 to 8 weeks. Once the oil is cold-extracted, they ensure purity by using a proprietary, innovative filtration system developed in cooperation with the ItalianConsiglio Nazionale delleRicerche (AKA National Research Council or C. N. R.). Once filtered, it’s notably stored in oxygen-free, stainless-steel tanks and bottled to order in custom UV-protected glass with an anti-oxidation cap, then exported under temperature-controlled conditions to ensure the highest standards.
It’s a small business focused on EVOO exceptionalism, and it’s a family affair too. It’s not one passed down through generations, but rather an Italian mountainside adventure in a VW bus by producer, Romain Piro, that led him to purchase land in Mount Amiata only decades ago and settle to live off it. On this property were majestic, ancient, secular olive trees, requiring some rejuvenation plus restoration,with a little nip/tuck refresh and a side of TLC. This OO journey began for him only 15 years ago,bearing fruit and bringing to fruition a 2018 launch of Olio Piro., with a U.S.debut just before the pandemic in early 2020. Miami, Florida is considered its domestic headquarters.
Today, I’ll dub this Miami’s own Italian EVOO, with some outside action in New York and the Carolinas too, but don’t fret their sparse, domestic brick and mortar presence right now. As the U.S. in-person economy begins to thrive again, Charlotte, who handles the U.S. distribution, is looking to grow their presence across the country and especially, expand their in-store reach too. Currently, this OO plus plus can be found online for immediate purchase at Piro.
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