ode to olive oil

Olive oil is easily the most understated ingredient in todays kitchen. In some kitchens it gets a prominent place, because it is the thing to have (expensive, exclusive brand of oil), and for some it is just part of making salad because its trendy. Sometimes it packaged in fancy glass bottles that would make “Kosta Boda” jealous, and sometimes in decorative tins, reminiscent of the last turn of century. But if you treat it as an ingredient for everyday use, a whole new sensation of flavors awaits you.

ode to olive oil

‪Pablo Neruda (Nobel Prize in Literature ‪1971)
 Translated by Jodey Bateman


Near the murmuring
In the grain fields, of the waves
Of wind in the oat-stalks
The olive tree
With its silver-covered mass
Severe in its lines
In its twisted
Heart in the earth:
The graceful
By the hands
Which made
The dove
And the oceanic
Of nature
And there
The dry
Olive Groves
The blue sky with cicadas
And the hard earth
The prodigy
The perfect
Of the olives
With their constellations, the foliage
Then later,
The bowls,
The miracle,
The olive oil.
I love
The homelands of olive oil
The olive groves
Of Chacabuco, in Chile
In the morning
Feathers of platinum
Forests of them
Against the wrinkled
Mountain ranges.
In Anacapri, up above,
Over the light of the Italian sea
Is the despair of olive trees
And on the map of Europe
A black basketfull of olives
Dusted off by orange blossoms
As if by a sea breeze
Olive oil,
The internal supreme
Condition for the cooking pot
Pedestal for game birds
Heavenly key to mayonaise
Smoothe and tasty
Over the lettuce
And supernatural in the hell
Of the king mackerals like archbishops
Our chorus
Powerful smoothness
You sing:
You are the Spanish
There are syllables of olive oil
There are words
Useful and rich-smelling
Like your fragrant material
It’s not only wine that sings
Olive oil sings too
It lives in us with its ripe light
And among the good things of the earth
I set apart
Olive oil,
Your ever-flowing peace, your green essence
Your heaped-up treasure which descends
In streams from the olive tree.

On my last trip to Paris I came across a shop called Première Pression Provence, and these little treats:

Perfumed olive oils in original packaging.

But there where also sweets. The new thing is producing sweets with olive oil. Believe it or not, but olives and olive oil lends itself perfectly for sweet treats.

The best of the lot was (is) the NOUGAT AUX OLIVES. Just imagine your regular nougat or torrone and now imagine that with bits of green olives in it. Fantastic ….

The slight bitterness of the green olives takes just enough of the sweetens of the nougat that gives a whole new meaning to BITTER-SWEET.

This is definitely a reason to experiment more with olives and olive oil in the patisserie.

Published by ChefThomas

… born in Upper Austria’s Wels, I have done most of my growing up in Vienna. Only by sheer accident did I fall into the trade of Pâtissier. After a short apprentice ship at a Viennese Bakery, I was accepted for apprentice ship, at "K.u.K. Hofzuckerbäcker Demel’s Söhne", one of the oldest patisseries in Vienna. Learning the trade from the very basics, as the Emperor two Centuries ago would have expected from a "Pâtissier to the Royal and Imperial Court" (That is what the older Pâtissier still calls himself). I soon took to travel the world. From patisseries in America, to hotels in the Far East, Africa and the Middle East, did I accumulate a wealth of experience, ranging from bakeries to first class restaurants in major hotels to banquets for Presidents, Sultans and Heads of States and other famous, infamous and not so famous people. But the true excitement for me is in the "Viennese Café". Not just as an occupation, but as an institution in it own right.

2 thoughts on “ode to olive oil

  1. Chef, I enjoyed the ode 🙂 Olive Oil is in the blood for Italians as well. I have been known to drink it straight on occassion and to feign a soar throat to justify it!

    I agree that the expensive bottles are sometimes for show, but will be on the lookout for the oil/tasty sweets… hadn’t seen those before


    1. Hi Mike,
      Correct, there are some REALLY tasty olive oils out there, and some are worth nibbling on straight-up.

      On my last visit to Paris I found a few “Olive Oil Treats”. Interesting stuff …. worth looking into a bit closer


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