Followers of this blog will be aware that we are spoiled for choice here in terms of excellent food and drink of all kinds. The only thing missing is good olive oil. We are exactly on the 45th parallel of latitude – the northernmost growth limit for olive trees – and although the little town of Nyons, across the Rhône in the Drôme, is famous for its olives, the oil is very smooth and light tasting. We prefer something with a bit more of a kick in it and generally manage to bring back supplies from our various trips to Italy.
Recently Markus was travelling in Sicily with his tour group and, while chatting to the bus driver, discovered that his brother has a large olive orchard. Not only that but Alberto, the driver, makes regular runs from Sicily to St Etienne (of all places) via Reggio di Calabria, Bologna and Lyon, with a few stops in between – altogether a 48 hour journey. The enterprising Alberto and Markus had soon got a plan together. St Etienne is about one and a half hours’ drive from les Sarziers so it made sense to order a good amount; that way we have enough for ourselves and any friends who want to try a taste of Sicily.
So yesterday afternoon, a freezing miserable Sunday in dead-as-a-duck St Etienne we were in position and waiting.Two hours late but full of smiles and Sicilian sun, Alberto and his colleague rolled up in their big white bus. Delightfully the bus company’s name translates as Blessed Wolf and their home town, with a little imagination, as Dogs and Cats. The oil was duly unloaded along with a few passengers and what looked like assorted car parts. Hugs and salutations followed and we set off for home, whilst the drivers headed to their hotel for a well-earned night’s sleep.
We cracked open a can immediately and the oil is truly delicious. Liquid sunshine in fact. Che buono!