Amphora Nueva in Berkeley has the most extensive selection of ultra premium, extra virgin olive on tap in the Bay Area -- and possibly, the United States.
If you are looking for thoughtful introduction to the world of extra virgin olive oils, start here.
If your finely calibrated palate is so particular that you have never been able to find your extra-virgin sweet spot, or if you’re the guy who knocks back shots of ultra-high polyphenol olive oils for your health, welcome home.
Amphora always has at least 30 -- sometimes as many as 50 – extra virgin olive oils on tap, segregated by country of origin, by the variety or varieties of olives they contain, by polyphenol counts, by the intensity of flavor, and by how recently the oil was pressed.
Because storage conditions are critical to maintaining the quality and character of ultra premium oil -- heat, light, and air are the enemies of extra virgin olive oil -- Amphora only stores and sells their stock in bulk. In the store, their extra virgin olive oils are sampled from special stainless steel vessels (fusti), and only bottled when you make a purchase.
Each fusti is labeled according to the flavor profile, country of origin and chemical profile of its contents. Every oil (or blend of oils) is both tasted and tested before it is purchased because both science and art play a role in identifying the ultimate quality of an extra virgin olive oil.
If you know what you’re looking for, or you’re trying to track down a particular oil you’ve tasted somewhere else, the extraordinarily well-informed staff at Amphora Nueva can help you locate it.
If you don’t have a clue, a few well-placed questions from the staff, tasting instructions, and your first few samples will guide you through the shop to an extra –virgin olive oil that is uniquely your own.
Not enough choices for you? Amphora Nueva also sells infused olive oils including blood orange, lemon, and Persian lime, plus harissa, gremolata, and various other herbs. There’s even a plant-based “butter’ flavor, popular with the popcorn crowd. And there are also two very high quality, reasonably priced, truffle oils, one white, one black.
There is also an extensive selection of from 35 to 40 (it varies) aged balsamic vinegars on tap -- both white and dark – all from Modena, Italy (or they couldn’t be called balsamic). Among the white balsamic infused vinegars look for Alfoos mango, Blenheim apricot, oregano-serrano-honey, and coconut. And although you’ll find the classic flavors (fig, dark cherry, raspberry and black currant) among the dark balsamics, also look for espresso, maple, and dark chocolate infusions.
All olive oils (except for the truffle oils) and vinegars are priced the same: 200 ml for $7, 375 ml for $12, and 750 ml for $18. At these prices, you can afford to be curious, or profligate, or both.
An added bonus: the Amphora Green Card. Return or recycle 10 Amphora bottles – they keep track on your “Green Card”-- and receive a free 200 ml bottle of olive oil or vinegar.