Sarah & Olive: A Journey Through Andalucía
Sarah & Olive is a new Dublin based olive oil business bringing exceptional single estate olive oils to Ireland. It was set up by Sarah Merrigan, a chef, food writer and sustainable food entrepreneur who lived and worked in Spain for years and is now on a mission to showcase the flavour possibilities and versatility that single-estate olive oils can bring to modern Irish cooking.
As you’d expect from a chef, Sarah is obsessed with great ingredients and during her time as a chef in Barcelona she learnt a lot about what makes good food great. As she says herself, “It sounds like a bit of a cliché but the starting point really is simple – great, well-produced ingredients”.
Through fellow chefs in Spain, she discovered an exceptional group of olive oil producers in Andalucía and learnt that, depending on the olive variety, terroir and maker’s vision, every great olive oil opens up a new world of flavour and possibility in the kitchen. Green tomatoes, almond, banana, artichoke, quince, apple, fig and even wood are just some of the notes found in her range of exceptionally well-crafted oils.
This great flavour, coupled with the huge wealth of research showing the astounding health benefits of well-made extra virgin olive oil (everything from heart health and stroke prevention to healthy brain function), is what inspired her to set up Sarah & Olive.
The olive oil producers that Sarah works with are dedicated to producing some of the finest olive oils in the business. These oils aren’t mass-produced or generic but unique and full of personality just like the makers behind them.
Most are multi-award winners, and some have even won best in the world.
The Butler’s Pantry is delighted to announce that our stores will be stocking a specially curated selection of three of Sarah’s finest oils. There is one for every occasion, from the light and sweet Cortiquo Espiritiu Santo Organic Arbequina with its delicate subtlety that is perfect for lighter plates to the slightly more complex and structured Finca La Torre Organic Hojiblanca and fuller bodied, the punchy, peppery Picual from Nobleza del Sur. These are oils that will take almost any dish to the next level.
All of Sarah’s oils are “early harvest” olive oils which means they have higher levels of polyphenols than other olive oils, even other extra virgin olive oils. Polyphenols are a group of over 500 phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring micronutrients in plants. As with other antioxidants, polyphenols help prevent cellular damage from free-radicals. Harvesting early means that the olives are greener and so give the oil an even bigger antioxidant boost and this is what lowers our risk of many chronic diseases. It also means that the oils have a lovely fresh, green flavour.
Cortiquo Espiritiu Santo Organic Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a sweet and delicate oil with a hint of subtle spiciness with notes of almond, fruit compote and ripe banana. Cortiquo Espiritiu Santo oil is made by the multi-award-winning extra virgin olive oil producer Juan Molina Martínez who is a touchstone within the industry for his attention to detail and meticulous organic and biodynamic production. This gorgeous oil is perfect with light fish dishes, leafy salads, yogurt, labneh and deserts.
Finca La Torre Organic Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil is such an exceptional oil that it is one of only two in Spain to have received 100 points from the prestigious Flos Olei olive oil guide. It is intensely fruity, with notes of green almond, apple, banana peel, freshly cut grass and olive leaf as well as complex and well-balanced hints of rocket, artichoke, black pepper and chicory. Gorgeous with oily fish and meat dishes like roasted pork as well as heavier salads.
Nobleza del Sur Early Harvest Centenarium Premium Picual Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Nobleza del Sur have been making olive oil in Andalucia since 1640 and are world leaders in the field. This very special oil is winner of 99 points by Flos Olei as well as numerous awards the world over. The Picual olive is Andalucia’s most emblematic variety and it is renowned for its characteristic finish of pepper and spice. The main tasting notes are of green banana, apple, green almond and tomato leaf with a hint of the lavender which is grown alongside the olive trees in the groves. It takes up to 14 kilos to make just one litre of this very special oil. Early Harvest Centenarium Premium Picual is exceptional with tomato but is also wonderful with all kinds of pasta dishes, semi hard cheese, meat, fish and chocolate.
All of these incredible oils are now available to purchase in your local The Butler’s Pantry shop.