Front Runners October 2015: Smoke, Not Fire


Castillo de Canena’s Cold-Smoked Arbequina Olive Oil (castillodecanena.com) proves that where there’s smoke, there’s flavor. This family-owned business, which has operated in Spain’s Andalusia region since 1780, infuses its sensational Arbequina olive oil over smoldering oak, birch, and beech woods for 6 hours. The oil takes on a subtly smoky aroma and flavor that mingles nicely with the Arbequina’s natural peppery spiciness—a quality that earned this extra-virgin elixir the award for best oil at the competitive Specialty Food Show in New York City this summer. Best used to finish a dish, the oil would be superb drizzled over roasted branzino, creamy burrata, or butternut-squash bisque. Still, to appreciate its nuances in their purest form, simply dip good bread into a saucerful. A 250 mL (8.4-ounce) bottle sells for $35 at such specialty retailers as Murray’s Cheese (murrayscheese.com).  

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