Who else is super excited about discovering new products? I know I am 🙂 Ever since starting off this blog in 2013, I have been fortunate enough to meet amazing small business owners, whose wholesome creations have captured my heart for good and forever. Their stories are persuasive as their products are delicious, and I find joy learning about their ideas, their struggles, their obstacles and successes.
One business I have been super excited to learn more about recently is California-based Nuvo Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Back in 2012, brothers and co-founders Josh and Nathan decided to visit their parents in Chico, CA. While there, Josh and Nathan became aware that their family owned a 125-year-old olive orchard in the area, but unfortunately no one was taking care of the trees! As stated on the Nuvo website, “At one point there was even talk of bulldozing the olive orchard to sell the land.” The brothers couldn’t let that happen, of course! So they went on a mission to capitalize on the exceptional quality of olives from their parents’ orchard – and the rest was history, as they say: Nuvo Olive Oil was born with their first harvest in 2012.
Josh and Nathan hired an Italian Master Miller, whose facility was located about 40 minutes from their farm. As their explain on the Nuvo website, “Not only did he learn his craftsmanship the old-fashioned way, on the classic stone mill and vertical press systems, but he expanded his knowledge to state-of-the-art and advanced machinery.”
Nuvo olives are first cold pressed in a vacuum, unrefined, and extracted without the use of chemicals. The resulting extra virgin olive oils burst with unique aromas and flavors, due to the abundance of polyphenols/antioxidants primarily beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin A, and other omega fatty acids. Their quality has long been recognized, with gold medals for Nuvo’s 2019 and 2018 Early Harvest, their Expert Blend, as well as 2 silver medals at the NYIOCC (one of the largest olive oil competitions in the world) and at the Los Angeles EVOO award show, respectively.
In addition to extra virgin olive oils, Nuvo also sells a variety of artisan gourmet products such as balsamic vinegars, jarred olives, and fruit spreads.
I used Nuvo oils in many dishes, and their complex flavors have been a joyful discovery. Take, for example, this savory oatmeal bowl featuring organic oats, sauteed Swiss chard and red bell pepper, nutritional yeast, oven roasted pumpkin seeds, and baby kale & fresh herbs from the garden.
Growing up with very little food, I was blessed having my mom and my aunt as role models pursuing “no waste” by default, as a necessity. I would watch these wonderful ladies use every single ingredient to the max, freezing the surplus, canning or storing the veggies in the pantry for the winter etc. The Swiss chard in this oatmeal bowl was frozen by me a few months ago, then taken out for this dish, and gently sauteed.
I have recently started buying oats in bulk, and I’m loving it! Less packaging, for starters. Moreover, oats require fewer resources to grow compared to other grains, which means they are a more sustainable option for your meals. Buying local and organic can help ensure fewer miles and better control over the oats you buy (thinking in terms of the use of glyphosate, in particular).
I finished off my savory oatmeal with a splash of Nuvo’s superb Taggiasca special edition EVOO, and the magic was complete 🙂
… and in a charcoal pasta salad I made for a challenge on Instagram. To make the pasta I used 50% whole wheat and 50% all purpose flour (as per Chef Gemma Stafford‘s recipe), and I added 3 tbsp Anthony’s Goods activated charcoal. I used organic fresh corn and pumpkin seeds as well as dandelion, kale, chives and purslane from the garden, and I made them all “swim” in a citrusy vinaigrette featuring Nuvo’s Early Harvest EVOO.
Anything Nuvo-packed and savory for brunch? Of course 🙂 The crepes below were stuffed with a whipped ricotta and blue cheese filling, made light and vibrant by the inclusion of fresh chives from the garden. I added sweet roasted mini peppers, and finished off with splashes of Nuvo’s Early Harvest EVOO, whose superb almost creamy consistency made this dish an absolute joy to the palate.
The crepes could have been a bit thinner, right? Let’s just say I got distracted by their yellow color (from Blue Sky Eggs) and poured more batter than I should have. Ooops… 😋
I also used Nuvo products (both oils and balsamic vinegars) in a variety of sweet dishes. I had an amazing time making my mom’s spice cake again, a moist and aromatic dessert which brims with vibrant, life-affirming spices. You can read all about this cake and get the recipe here and here.
I thought this family favorite would be the perfect “vehicle” to showcase the versatility of Nuvo’s oils, whose exuberant fruity complexity turns sweet and savory dishes into pure delight. Add it to the spice mix in this cake (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, juniper berries, cloves) and you’ve got yourself a winner! I used Nuvo’s Taggiasca EVOO in lieu of vegetable oil, and the cake turned out super moist and moreish, with an almost creamy texture, and intense flavors and aromas.
I had an amazing time testing Nuvo’s artisan flavors and learning the story behind the products. What I love about Nuvo is the vibrancy and complexity: the taste is luxurious without being heavy-handed, its thoroughness clean, its exuberance most welcome in both savory and sweet applications. As I look over these pictures fondly while sitting at my desk in the middle of winter, I yearn for summer beauty and vibrancy again, and I know with Nuvo, I am one step closer to my summer dreams coming true. Truth be told, I cannot wait for more fun cooking in the sun – with Nuvo close by 🙂
*Disclaimer: While I received complimentary products to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.