“Iphitos, make not the fruit of an apple the prize of thy contest;
But on the victor’s head set a fruitful wreath of wild-olive”
Phlegon of Tralles, 2nd century BC
The oleaster (or Olea Oleaster) is sometimes known as the wild olive, is a very ancient type of olive and it does indeed look like a cultivated form of the cultivated olive.
I was lucky enough to be given some leaves to use as an infusion, as well as some of the oil produced from this beautiful tree. I had no idea you could use the leaves as an infusion so this was quite a discovery for me. We found it quite light, but with a fresh hay aroma, a subtle honeyed flavour with a background of woody pine. The SD tea consultant commented, ‘brighter citrus top notes’. I’ve been having it every day now, whilst working, and it’s a soft, subtle flavour which grows on you. Interesting experiment.
The oil was very smooth with a distinctive bitter chilli kick at the end, not overwhelming just rather interesting. It went particularly well in the tasting with toasted farmhouse bread.
This post is dedicated to Luigi Vergura – with thanks