Ingredient | A Royal Oil
Countess Francesca de Bardin was working in Manhattan as a headhunter when she first tasted some French olive oils and decided to hunt for them instead. Now, under the label Les Moulins Dorés, she sells seven extra-virgin oils that are grown, hand-harvested, pressed and bottled in Provence. Each one is made from a different mix of olives: Some are nutty and sweet, others fruity and smooth. All but one carry the designation A.O.C., a sign that they have met the French government's exacting standards for regional artisanal products. This is the first time A.O.C. olive oils have been exported to the United States, and chefs like Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Charlie Trotter and Guenther Seeger have been won over by their exceptionally low acidity and their soft, delicate feel and taste. ($11 to $26; available at shops like Zabar's, 800-697-6301 or 212-787-2000, and from zShops in Amazon.com).