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Sep 16, 2004 10:42 PM

Olive oil (Armando Manni and/or other premium oils)

  • t

Just ran out of my current stock of Mcevoy Ranch Nuovo Olio/Eraly Harvest olive oil. I am now passionate about robust, unfiltered, grassy/peppery olive oils. I have read good things about Manni oils from Tuscany and was wondering if anybody could recommend it or any other premium/boutique oils.



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  1. I'm not up on imported oils, but I too was all about McEvoy Ranch until I tried BR Cohn's Estate EVOO while visiting the winery. Really sharp and green.


    1. b
      bob oppedisano

      You'll find (somewhere) posts about Manni (Thomas Keller's favorite), but at 50 Euros per 2 100-ml bottles available thru their web site, I've had to pass. That works out to $300/liter.

      Try Capezzana, Laudemio, Badia a Coltibuono among the relatively well-distributed Tuscans. Olio Verde and Ravida from Sicily will give you a Southern take on green and peppery; there are many similar oils, always estate bottled and often bio-organic, from Puglia as well.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bob oppedisano

        Manni also requires a minimum purchase of five dual packs of 100 ml bottles. They ship only by air express courier on Mon-Wed from Italy. So I would assume that shipping would add at least another $250 to the cost.

        1. re: Sam D.

          I believe the case cost is all inclusive, shipping in special containers, fed-ex, 3 day delivery.

          1. re: Sam D.

            Manni seems to be a product that is made for the American market. All of the print on the bottle is in English. I am not saying that is a good or bad thing. The Italian oils, truffles and basalmico that I usually buy have all or mostly Italian writing on them. I did manage to get a taste of Manni at Le Sanctuaire and it was a good, fruity, assertive oil but it would be hard to call it best in the world, most expensive in the world for sure.

        2. Many upscale grocers have olive oils open for sampling. Try to taste as many as possible. I've found that - surprise, surprise - the oils from a given region tend to couple well with the cuisine from that area. This isn't pseudo-science/mumbo-jumbo; things that grow in proximity share the same soil, water, microclimate, pollen, etc. In other words, the growing conditions are similarly and mutually beneficial. That said, you may want to sample around ... if you cook a lot of fish, milder/fruitier oils from coastal regions usually work well. Oils from Provence are on the expensive side, but very good. Oil from Catalan - made from arbequina olives or blends including picual and others - is a favorite of mine. Goes well with the kind of robust/earthy flavors you find in Catalan: roasted peppers, eggplant, ground almond and hazelnut pastes, onion cooked for hours until deep brown, chickpeas, etcetera.

          I've found that it's best to buy premium oils from a quality grocer with high turnover - if the oils have sat there on the shelf for a long time, flavor will have sapped away. Though not fragile by any means, olive oil only gets worse with age and mistreatment.


          1 Reply
          1. re: rien

            I use "L'Estornell", an organic arbequina olive oil from Catalonia available at Williams Sonoma for $20. Very low acidity, .3%.

          2. There is a reason that Thomas Keller, Charlie Trotter, Jean-George, et al all use Manni Olive - it is simply the best in the world. The flavors are explosive and subtle at the same time. I order it directly online and split the shipment with friends that way the cost is not too painful.

            I think that the most interesting way that I tasted the Manni Oil was at the French Laundry where the Manni Oil - Per Mio Figlio was warmed slightly and from a minature sauce boat, the oil was drizzled on to a thin wafer of chocolate, which then melted a small hole into the chocolate and then displayed a bowl of housemade ice creams. Amazing display and wonderful flavors.

            Depending on where you live, you may be able to approach one of the restaurants to see if they will sell you a bottle of the oil just to try it.

            Here in Los Angeles,

            I know that it is used by Vincenti Ristorante ph# 310-207-1207 and Melisse Restaurant ph# 310 395-0081.

            It is also sold in a cook shop called Le Sanctuaire ph# 310-581-8999 located in Santa Monica- they sell it in boxes of two.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Leigh
              bob oppedisano

              Never having tasted it, I can't comment on Manni's oil; if it's your favorite, fine. I'd hesitate, though, about claiming any single food product as the bets of its kind in the world: is there even, say, a best single Bordeaux or Barolo, much less a best single wine?
              That said, if you're using oil such as this as a condiment, on its owm, like a very aged Balsamico, then price really is not much of an object.
              If it's for a broader use, then, well, it's a different story entirely, for me, anyway.

              1. re: Leigh

                Are there anywhere else I can get my hands on some Armando Manni "Per Me"? I know this post is from 6+ years ago so the information probably doesn't add up today (Melisse and Vincenti stopped carrying them, Le Sanctuaire simply closed down and it doesn't list the oil on their online shop. Does anyone know if any resteaurants in the LA/OC/SD area are using it or if any shops are selling it?

              2. b
                Boskos (The Greek)

                Jack thegreek?
                Forget the restaurateur/chef choices - they ultimately are "bottom line" folks who sauté in rather pedestrian oils and use "quality" when a nose might happen by. Pasolivo (, a blend of Frantoio, Leccino, Lucca, Moraiolo, and Pendolino olives, from Paso Robles is number one - hands down!!! Not an Italian, Greek, Spanish, South African, Argentine, North African, Chinese oil that can compare. A perfect 5-5-5 oil! And no, I don't have a financial interest - merely willing to pay the freight for true quality.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Boskos (The Greek)

                  First things first, I was named after my paternal grandfather (big surprise, huh?), "Iackovos"; who was born on the island of Tinos in the cyclades.

                  Secondly, thanks for the reco. I really have a hankering for some great oil. We just moved and I can honestly that there are no less than three artisinal breadmakers within a mile...........and I am out of oil worthy of their excellence.


                  1. re: thegreek

                    Any restaurants or shops in the LA/OC/SD area still selling Armando Manni "Per Me""?

                      1. re: nickbass

                        Or would anyone like to group order some and we'll split the cost?

                          1. re: nickbass

                            Just ordered some thru Williams Sonoma. Beside the 2 olive oils they also
                            have the "Manni White Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil". I'm sure its just a holiday
                            item for now. I got the free shipping for a year that they offer for $30.00 so this was
                            covered under that which made it not so bad especially if you order anyways thru them during the year.

                            I use "L'Estornell Olive Oil" myself most often. Also bought a bottle of "Antico
                            Frantolo Muraglla" Olive Oil from Dean and Deluca recently to give to one of my best friends. Haven't tried it myself but got good reviews. The bottle is really pretty and reuseable too. All I need is a ribbon. I think she'll love it!


                            1. re: chocolate

                              Williams-Sonoma now has "Manni Oils"n some of their stores too. I was surprised when I
                              was talking to the manager at the Time Warner Center in NYC about something else and we got on the oil topic and she told me they had "Manni Oils"in their store and not just thru their catalog.

                              I thought if any of the stores were to carry it, this would make the most sense since Thomas Keller's restaurant is right there and he is a huge fan of this oil but she told me she thought other large " big city" WS would also have it in their stores. Also happened to mention how Manni himself came in their store and told them all about his neat that must have been!

                              Couldn't believe it when I saw it in the WS near me this past week-end in Ann Arbor. Its a nice WS but the mall is not one that you would call upscale in any way. I think I knew alot more about the oil then any of the employees working there. It will be interesting to see how long they carry it atleast in this WS.

                              Thanks Chowhounds for this wonderful find! I've been researching this since I saw it first mentioned here on the boards several years ago....I even had called my AMEX back in the summer to see if they knew of any place I could order it in the states soo was
                              really excited when I saw it on the WS website. I think they are also offering free shipping on it now too. Bought several as xmas gifts now just have to buy another one for myself.
                              (This was listed in a book I saw " 100 Things To Buy Before You Die". Hopefully, I still have some time.)