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‘Flavorites’ Profile: Jonathan Sciabica

Growing up in a multi-generational family of olive oil producers gives me a unique perspective on flavor. For one, from childhood, olive oil was used for everything – especially in place of butter. We don’t even have butter in the house. Olive oil on bread, baked in pastries, and even on pancakes!

My favorite varietal olive oil: Mission ‘Buttery & Sweet’

What makes this olive oil special? First, a little history. Olives were originally planted in California by the Spanish Missionaries in the late 1700’s. These plantings are now their own unique variety, Mission. The Mission olive is the only native California variety and has had by far the longest to adapt to the California climate. The result is an olive that can ripen on the tree much longer than any other variety. Why is that important? Because ripe olives produce sweet olive oil and sweet olive oil can replace butter!

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the bitterness and pungency of an early harvested olive oil. In fact, my ‘favorite’ olive oil can really depend on the application. If it’s for a salad dressing, then I like the ‘punch’ from our Arbosana ‘Robust & Peppery’.

My favorite use for Mission ‘Buttery & Sweet’: Cacio e Pepe

Some of my earliest memories are of my grandmother making me pasta as an after-school snack. A simple recipe consisting of pasta, Mission EVOO, pecorino cheese, and fresh ground pepper. She called it “pastina” which means ‘small pasta’ because she would use cuts of pasta like Orzo or Riso. Many years later I would come to realize that it was also known as ‘Cacio e Pepe’ which literally means ‘Cheese and Pepper’… It’s basically Italian Mac N Cheese 🙂

My favorite flavored olive oil: Basil

When it comes to flavored olive oils, I’m a basil guy all the way. I believe it’s truly our flagship olive oil. The freshness of the Basil flavor destroys any infused olive oils. Our loyal customers of Sciabica’s “flavored” olive olives know that we never “infuse” the flavor but rather send real Basil with the Olives into the presses. The difference in flavor is like night and day!

My favorite use for Basil: Instant Pesto

I’m also a huge fan of Pesto so I use this olive oil a lot as a sandwich spread or drizzled over pasta (no need for sauce), just add cheese!

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