The Sultan of Olive Oil
New York's premier oleologist is on a mission to make you taste the ecstasy of true extra-virgin and forever forsake its imposters.
“Do you remember how to do this? It’s going to be loud, but that’s okay,” warns Nick Coleman. We’re sitting at Del Posto, the celebrity chef Mario Batali’s Italian restaurant in the Meatpacking District, as he guides me through a tasting of two olive oils, one Tuscan and one Sicilian. A piano plays in the background and my handbag sits between us, perched on a footstool the waiter has brought. The footstool’s sole purpose appears to be protecting handbags from Del Posto’s immaculately clean floor, and I can’t shake the nagging feeling that the footstool is far more expensive than my handbag and that if things were in their natural order, my handbag would be supporting the footstool.
On a Tuesday at one in the afternoon, Del Posto is filled with small groups of men in impeccably cut suits and a fleet of discreet waiters. Coleman picks up a white ceramic tasting spoon, sucks olive oil into his mouth and then proceeds to aerate it. The aeration process bears a r…