I recently had the pleasure to meet a lovely lady who lives in Enfield, North London and whose family makes olive oil. (www.oliodiluigi.co.uk) Sounds an unlikely combination but it is perfectly logical really.
Salvina Mendola's family come from Sicily a small island belonging to Italy. Her family own an olive grove and produce a cold pressed olive oil. Salvina and her brother have recently taken over the marketing of the oil and have started bringing it to the UK in huge drums and bottling it here to keep the costs to the consumer down.
Salvina and her brother spend most of their time in the UK with an uncle and other family members looking after the olives and then in November they take their holiday and head back to Sicily to help with the harvest and olive oil production. Then it's all hands on the deck and Salvina and they other women take up residence in the kitchen and make food for the workers, who by the way have voracious appetites when working in the groves!
The product range is currently small but Salvina has ideas for expanding into soaps and scrubs made from the oil and more. Currently you can get the cold pressed sicilia extra virgin oil (this has a lovely, clean taste and the smell takes you to a field overlooking an olive grove with the warm sun on your head and shoulders and a cool breeze flowing through your hair) and an oil infused with Chilli (this bottle has a slight red tinge and lots of shimmering chilli flakes floating around almost like flecks of gold)
Salvina gave me a bottle of each of the oils to try at home and she would love to attend some local markets and events to promote her product. They are simply labelled and pleasantly packaged.
She will post the oil or if you live within a reasonable distance from North London she will even deliver it personally. It's an idea to get together with friends and split the postage.
I wouldn't waste this oil in cooking but pour it onto a fresh salad, roasted peppers, sliced mozarella or a baked aubergine and transport yourself back to a little island in southern Italy.