Three universal truths: Olive oil is sexy. Chocolate is sexy. Italians are sexy. When they’re Nudo, they’re even sexier. I’m not talking of disrobing – although undoubtedly there are few things that get a Cocoa Nut hotter under the collar than a bar of chocolate with half its wrapper teasingly peeled back – rather, I speak of a cracking little company by that very name.
The story of Nudo is told in their foodie memoir ‘The Dolce Vita Diaries‘, a tale of a twosome getting to grips with life in Le Marche. Company founders Jason Gibb and Cathy Rogers realised their dream in 2005, realising that life amongst the olive trees could be both lucrative and lovely.
And, admirably, the way Nudo works incorporates both those adjectives. With the ‘Adoption scheme’, you don’t just treat yourself to a tin of outstanding olive oil; you treat yourself to a tree and all the oil its toil bears. Word to the wise – adoptive parents get perks on prices clean across the range. In short, Nudo makes ‘feelgood food’ – ethical, sustainable, fair and responsible.
It’s also responsible for some of the tastiest treats around, including olive oil chocolates so stupendous they rendered me speechless. And trust me, that’s no mean feat. Each features a white olive oil ganache encapsulated in a shiny dark chocolate shell; capturing the very essence of Nudo’s olive oils. Masterminded by chocolatiers local to Le Marche, they’re a total triumph.
Finding a favourite is impossible. Lemon, mandarin and chilli all taste completely of themselves, and all taste absolutely sublime. These chocolates are a real and rare example of a product I think is pretty damn perfect; a dozen doesn’t even begin to sate my appetite for their awesomeness.
Before I climb off my soapbox, let me praise the packaging – a pretty paper box filled with foil-wrapped bonbons in bright red, orange and yellow. Looks like fireworks; pretty apt for a product that causes ‘em to go off in your gob.
And now – glory be! – Nudo has a new chocolate-olive oil offering. The inspiration for this ‘crazy concept’ came from pastry chef Will Torrent – a chap I will be giving a massive pat on the back next time I encounter. Chocolate olive oil might sound catastrophic to some, but this is no glib gimmick – it’s been carefully constructed.
We’re not talking a fake flavouring added post-production, or a strange and unstable emulsion. No – Nudo simply add fling raw cacao nibs over the hand-harvested fruits before the whole mass is laboured into a very lovely liquid indeed. The heavenly hybrid combines cultures as well as ingredients – olives from Loro Piceno on Italy’s East Coast; cacao beans from West Africa.
So what to do with this royal oil? You could just take it neat; a spoonful a day of this nectar is a vastly preferable alternative to cod liver oil. But this experimental little number works with any number of dishes; from fresh fruit to fresh-baked pastries; grilled asparagus to grilled game. The world is your oyster. Come to think of it, it might be worth trying a trickle on those too…
- You can only get Nudo’s ‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil Stoneground with Cacao Nibs’ online, and they only made a little lot – so you’d better (olive) oil the wheels of those skates and get to it!