Richard’s Finer Things in Life (FTIL 1) – Olive Oil

When’s the last time you gave more than a minute of thought to olive oil?  Not very good for high heat cooking – that’s the extent of my knowledge of juices from this simple fruit…  Virgin oil is manually extracted or pressed without using heat or chemicals.  Extra virgin has low acidity thus good for cooking and salads.  But in all seriousness, any gourmet worth his salt knows that Tuscan-style olive oil pairs well with arugula and radicchio with its peppery character.

On the other hand, butter lettuce and micro greens should be dressed with less assertive traits, perhaps those from Alpes de Haute-Provence with its distinctive fruity flavor…  Olive oil is a deep and passionate subject for enthusiasts who characterize varieties using a vernacular familiar to wine, coffee and scotch.  Small North American producers are downright psychotic about making exquisite boutique oils that cater to finer tastes.

I believe it’s important to experiment and develop your own palette for refinement.  Try different varietals, brands, and the stores that carry them. Oh, why not?  Some experiments will turn out to be an absolute triumph, while others can be utter disasters…   But even then, they will be your own disasters, and at the end of the day, it should be fun to blaze some new trails.  Lastly, this FTIL does not necessarily have to be an expensive hobby.  Walking along the isles of a discount outlet, my wife and I were surprised to find a small bottle of Lambda at quite a reasonable price…   Here’s to hoping that you too will also enjoy finer things in life.  Cheers!


About Richard Lee
Experienced finance and operations professional. Currently partner in five companies, adjunct professor of economics at Columbia College and executive contributor to a small business blog (; following corporate finance, M&A and management consulting tenures with Orbitz and Diamond Technology Partners; and six years of service with the United States Army.

7 Responses to Richard’s Finer Things in Life (FTIL 1) – Olive Oil

  1. lreisman says:

    Well Congratulations on this blog! For what it’s worth, I don’t like the olive oil they use at Cafe Spiaggia (it tastes like grass). But I think the issue is that I don’t seem to have a very sophisticated palette for olive oil either. Oh well.

    I’m looking forward to your next post and very excited by any covering the subject of handbags!

    • Martha says:

      Dear Richard,

      congrats on the blog! I’ve bought and enjoyed Lambda too. The price was 45 euros per 500 ml bottle. Is there a smaller Lambda bottle – othen than the 500 ml.?

      Thank you in advance


      • richardjslee says:

        Hi Martha – in the past, I’ve purchased liter bottles. I’ve yet to see 750ml packaging. I believe 500ml is as small as they go for retail…

    • richardjslee says:

      Hey Lisa – have you tried unfiltered, proprietary olive oil Greek Islands restaurant (on Halsted) serves with their bread? Heaven… Cloudy with very distinct flavor – they said the oil originates from the family farm in Greece. No name – don’t even sell them at the restaurant. I will need to recruit Jenna’s help with the post on bags…:)

  2. Alvie says:

    Congrats Richard –
    What do u suggest for a good salad ?

    • richardjslee says:

      For me, extra virgin oil with crushed garlic, black pepper, lemon juice and a dab of salt goes long way for salads… It’s simple, refreshing especially with spring greens with little bit of kick. Lately I’ve had good results with Redoro brand from the Verona province.

  3. Joyce says:

    A great article Richard. I look forward to reading more on olive oil. I purchased an olive tree in Italy as a gift for a friend a couple of years ago and she received the oil from that tree that year. There is a long history on olive oil that goes way back. Thanks!

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