Friday, 2 November 2012

Olive Themed Tasting Platter from Telegraph Hill

I challenged Geoff Crawford to come up with his idea for a small tasting plate built around an olive theme.Telegraph Hill Olive Estate is tucked away in the Te Mata Hills, overlooking Havelock North in Hawkes Bay. It started out from one shed in the grove but is now New Zealand’s largest producer of table olives.

 His favourite platter would be:

Telegraph Hill Warmed Lemon and Herb Olives dressed with extra virgin olive oil
Telegraph Hill Drunken Prunes ( marinated in red wine)
Telegraph Hill Smoked Semi Dried Tomatoes
Blue Cheese

If Geoff had lots of guests coming or was looking to fill people up then he would always add warmed fresh bread with oil and dukkah.

Warming the olives makes a great difference. “I always do it,” he says. The Telegraph Hill olives are packed in brine. He just drains them, warms them in a small bowl for 20 seconds in the microwave and drizzles them with some olive oil.
The choice is yours but Geoff prefers a Telegraph Hill barnea /manzanilla olive oil. It has a nice olivey grassy flavour rather than the stronger and more peppery Leccino which he would rather use with more robust and stronger flavours such as game or a strongly flavoured tomato pasta dish.He prefers a chardonnay with his anti pasta but, as he says, it’s very much a matter of personal choice.

For the cheese I would choose Kaimai Creamy Blue, a personal favourite with a snowy rind and a rich milky taste with the scent of fresh forest mushrooms.

We tried it. The food looked gorgeous arranged in small white bowls on a red plate which showed off the greens, reds, blacks and yellows. The tastes complemented each other beautifully, went well with some wine, and there was something rather special about sourcing the products from a single origin. It made a good talking point.

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