I have missed this stretch of the Tiber.
On this same walk, I wistfully watched for the first green leaves in spring, and where I now crunch through autumn.
So in addition to a picturesque canopy of leaves, this walk takes me towards the market and into town.
For the past few weeks, I have been harassing the vendors.
When is the new olive oil coming? Do you have olio nuovo?
Next week. Soon.
And I would stroll back home, oil-less.
I love to wax poetic about olio nuovo. I look forward to the press every year.
But this year I am anxious. It has been a bad year for olives in Italy. Poor weather and pests have destroyed much of the crop.
I wanted to be first in line to get whatever small amount of oil that I could find this year. At the mercato di campagna amica at Circo Massimo, I beelined for my favorite producer.
A handwritten sign announced the new oil.
I dipped some bread into the liquid gold and… winced.
The harvest was not only down in terms of quantity- but also quality. The bitterness was overwhelming.
I slunk away and sampled all the oil at the market, settling on a liter from Monte Maria (9 euro).
I snapped up another liter (12 euro) from Impero.
So if you are looking to buy olio nuovo this year, you are not completely out of luck.
Head to the markets with a bit of patience, as you may have to order ahead due to the low stock. If there’s nothing left, ask if they can reserve a few liters and bring them to you the following week.
Don’t give up, and always check that they are offering oil that has been ‘produced and bottled’ by the same entity. If you want to be extra sure you have the good stuff, look for the production date.
It’s a bit of extra work this year, but well worth the effort.