Although I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen with Italian mammas, many of whom we'll meet on the Food Lover's Tour in Puglia, I was lucky enough to also spend some time in the kitchen with a few handsome men, one of whom is Donato of the olive oil company Agricola Taurino.
Agricola Taurino is a family-run business. Founded by Donato's parents, Pino and Maria, Donato and his sister now run the "farm," as they call it. Pino and Maria are still an active and visible part of the business and pop in to meet guests daily. Donato takes great care in his guests' happiness, making sure we're full and happy when we leave. Donato and his sister take the same care in every detail of olive oil production, from the manner in which they water the olive trees down to the packaging and shipping of the oil and other products. The care they take in its production ends with an extra virgin olive oil of the finest quality.
Along with two types of extra virgin olive oil, the mildly flavored silver-labeled Polaris and the robustly flavored gold-labeled Sirius, Taurino makes pâtes with their olives and other of the many flavorful vegetables of Puglia; artichokes from Brindisi, local bell peppers and sun dried tomatoes. During my recent visit to Puglia, I have to admit I've went through jars and jars of the artichoke and bell pepper pâtes, slathering copious amounts on slices of Pugliese bread.
DISCOUNT ON OLIVE OIL FOR FOOD LOVER'S ODYSSEY READERS:
You can buy Taurino extra virgin olive oil and have it shipped directly to you! Via Taurino's website, purchase Taurino's extra virgin olive oil and olive oil products directly from them AND Donato is extending a discount to you, readers of Food Lover's Odyssey. Order any of their products from their online shop, here, use the code "FOOD LOVERS OLIVE OIL"and receive a 5% discount on all of Taurino's products, including their adopt an olive tree program.
THE OLIVE OIL GIVEAWAY:
Taurino is giving away two bottles of their extra virgin olive oil to one lucky reader of this blog.
To win the two bottles of Azienda Agricola Extra Virgin Olive Oil, one bottle of the delicate Polaris and one bottle of the more robust Sirius, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me how you like to use olive oil when cooking and what you'd like to see Donato cook the next time I visit him in the kitchen.
Second chance to enter: "Like" the Food Lover's Odyssey Facebook page; come back here and leave a comment telling me you've done so for a second entry in this giveaway. (If you've already "liked" my Facebook page prior to this giveaway, you can leave a second comment here letting me know as your other entry.)
A third chance to enter: "Like Azienda Agricola Taurino on Facebook and come back here and leave a comment telling me you've done so.
Leave your comments by Friday, April 26 at Midnight Pacific Time, when the giveaway closes. I'll pick a winner randomly using www.random.org and announce the winner in a post the next day.
NOTE: The contest is open to anyone worldwide!
UPDATE: Congratulations to Dee S. Her comment #27 was randomly chosen and she is the winner of the 2 bottles of Taurino Olive Oil. Donato will be shipping you your prize shortly!
Lemon & Taurino Olive Oil Cake:
We cooked and ate many savory dishes using Taurino's olive oil. On my last visit, I made a sweet dish with their mild (Polaris) extra virgin olive oil, this lemon & olive oil cake. Many people use melted butter when making cakes, but I believe that olive oil gives you a moister cake. This lemon cake I made with Donato is light but decadently dense and moist with a vibrant lemon flavor and the olive oil is a subtle secondary flavor. The cake is just sweet enough and so tasty it is that it doesn't need an elaborate garnish. I've simply dusted it with some powder sugar.
Lemon and Olive Oil Cake
(makes one 9 ½-inch cake)
For the cake:
1 3/4 cups (225 g) “00” flour or cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
Zest of 4 organic lemons
1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)
Scant 1 cup (250 g) whole-milk plain yogurt
2/3 cup (150 ml) extra virgin olive iil (Taurino's Polaris brand if you have it)
About ¼ cup powdered sugar to sprinkle on top of the cake
Strawberries or raspberries to garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a 9 1/2 cake pan with olive oil, then dust it with flour.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Add the zest to the granulated sugar and rub together to infuse the sugar with the zest’s lemon flavor. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat on medium-high speed the sugar and eggs until the mixture has lightened in color and doubled in size, 2-3 minutes. On low speed, whisk in the lemon juice and yogurt. Add the olive oil, pouring slowly so that flows in a stream. Mix in until it is combined. On the lowest speed, stir in the flour mixture only until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes. (A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out with a few moist crumbs.)
Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes. Remove from the cake pan and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with strawberries and/or raspberries. Buon Appetito!
Cook, Eat, Drink, Explore and Enjoy Puglia with me! Join me on a fabulous 9-day Food Lover's Culinary Vacation in Puglia. For dates and details, read the Food Lover's Culinary Tour in Puglia page.