While Washington is more known for it’s apples, Seattle-based Esplendido Douro, an olive oil company, recently won a gold award at the New York International Olive Oil Competition for its Azeite Esplendido.
The New York International Olive Oil Competition is organized by Olive Oil Times. The 15 judges of the 2016 competition are established olive oil sommeliers from around the globe, including Dr. Fernando Martínez Román, Carola Dümmer Medina, and Konstantinos Liris. Over four days, the judges were presented with each entry in a blue glass covered by paper so that they never see the color. They did not know the country of origin or bottle design, and must evaluate purely on taste alone. This year’s competition garnered 827 olive oil entries from 26 countries — the largest international collection of olive oils ever assembled.
Azeite Esplendido is very fragrant with grassy notes, a spicy taste and a pleasantly peppery finish. It is best represented when used in vinaigrettes, as a dip for crusty breads, or a finishing drizzle for grilled foods, bean dishes and crisp-tender vegetables. Whereas olive oil one may purchase from Costco in bulk may reach 30 percent acidity, premier olive oils such as this one are >0.2% acidity or less, affording it greater cancer-fighting properties.
This extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is from one of Portugal’s six Protected Designation of Origin zones, a classification that ensures the highest standards in olive oil selection, harvesting, and processing. Its producer, Henrique Cardoso, has been cultivating olives for years but his oil was largely unavailable and unknown outside of the region.
One fateful day, Seattleite Sheila Fitzgerald was exploring a trail in Portugal and met Henrique, who invited her for lunch. Four hours and a few bottles of wine later, she was in the olive oil business! Sheila then spent four years working through language barriers, cultural differences and time zones to form Esplendido Douro and get the oil to the US. The first shipment finally arrived in February 2016, and has already garnered diverse fans such as musician Jewel (ordered six bottles) and the chef of Canlis.
Douro has a 10-year exclusive contract to produce, package and export this organic medium blend of extra virgin olive oil from a single estate in the historic Tras-os-Montes region of the Douro Valley in Portugal.
Click here to find out where to purchase Azeite Esplendido!