Although Australian, and more recently New Zealand, wines have been internationally renowned for some time now, there’s another liquid being produced in the Pacific region that seems to be making major waves in gourmet circles these days.
I really started to notice the trend when I started seeing olive oil-related updates showing up in some of the digital Australia-New Zealand wine industry newsletters I get sent. It seems there’s a certain bond between the two industries. Apparently, New Zealand’s olive oil scene is still growing, with items being marketed as boutique products. A perfect example is Moutere Grove, a small company whose organic versions have taken home prizes at the International Olive Oil Awards every year since 2004.
Over in Australia, Cobram Estate, whose products just this year have won multiple local and international awards, have a website that at first glance looks like one we’d more typically associate with a high-end winery’s. And here’s how they describe their work: ‘Cool, sunny winters and long, hot summers under the Australian sun allow the olives to ripen perfectly, creating the freshest extra virgin olive oils bursting with fruity aromas and penetrating flavours.’
I’m a big olive oil fan–for both its full-bodied, satisfying flavours and reported health benefits–and currently use it in anything from quick stir-fries to sandwiches. However up until now, I’ve always thought of Italy as the only reliable source for it. From now on, I’ll be keeping my eye out for offerings from south of the equator.