I recently discovered a new Chicago-based organic food company – Villa Gabriella. While Villa Gabriella is new to Chicago, it actually dates back to the mid 1800’s with a family owned retail shop in Chianti, Italy, where customers were served the highest quality meat and poultry products. Local Tuscan specialties, including wine, extra virgin olive oil, truffles, and cheeses, were then added in the 1980’s and distributed to fine restaurants in Italy and Europe. And now, these small-production, artisan products are available in the United States, and all products offered by Villa Gabriella are certified organic products from Italy.
The products currently available locally include extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar from Modena and specialty reserve wine. Each of Villa Gabriella’s certified organic products are crafted in limited quantities with pride by small, family run Italian artisans and truly reflect Italy’s tradition of delicious & healthy food. I recently tried Villa Gabriella’s extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and both were excellent and reminiscent of my trip to Tuscany, Italy, where I enjoyed some of the best food I have ever tasted.
Olive oil is an essential element in the cooking of every Mediterranean country, and growing up in a large Greek family, I have tasted my fair share of olive oils! Extra virgin indicates a higher quality grade of olive oil, as it is made from the first press of the olives. Villa Gabriella’s organic extra virgin olive oil is made from organic Italian olives, handpicked with care, and offers a mild and fruity aroma. The full bodied olive oil has a peppery and almost nutty flavor, and is great on its own with bread, or used to enhance vegetables, fish, and meat.
Villa Gabriella’s balsamic vinegar, also organic and made in Italy from USDA certified organic Italian grapes, is made with only natural sulfites, and no added caramel or sugar. The quality is evident after one taste, and is well-balanced with a natural sweet and sour flavor sensations. This balsamic vinegar is equally great on its own with bread, or used in soups or salad dressings. The acidity of the vinegar also offers a nice balance to the richness of meats like pork, or even fish.
I recently used the olive oil and balsamic vinegar to top off a Caprese salad, made with heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. Of course, plenty was served on the side for dipping, as well. The oil and vinegar offered rich and deep flavors, but did not overpower the fresh tomatoes, creamy cheese, or the wonderful flavor and aroma of the fresh basil. It was wonderful and transported me back to the Italian countryside.
I have also since used the olive oil to prepare a wonderful roasted codfish and oven roasted asparagus, and I learned that balsamic vinegar makes an excellent topping for fresh strawberries! Who knew?!?
Villa Gabriella is offering an exclusive discount to Chritiques readers. Enter coupon code CHRITIQUES at checkout for 20% off your order! Villa Gabriella will ship your products directly to you. As they say in Italy, “Salute!”
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