The exterior is sleek and sexy and the interior is deep, rich and tres French. It’s not the latest Jean-Luc Goddard film, it’s Brangelina’s extra virgin olive oil, the latest creation of their Provence vineyard Chateau Miraval. Though the couple split earlier this year, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have held on to their 1,200-acre South of France estate, with 26 devoted to olives. Producer Marc Perrin said the organic oil has hints of “almond, hazelnut and stewed artichokes.”
At The Hollywood Reporter‘s blind tastings in Paris, French-American chef Justin Kent, who cut his teeth at L’Arpege and Verjus and now runs Zia in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, sensed hints of basil and citrus in the oil, with a spicy “almost peppery” finish. But Basque-French chef Inaki Aizpitarte of the famed Chateaubriand, who sipped the oil from a glass like a fine wine, felt that while it had a tangy finish and beautiful color, it fell flat quickly and “misses the freshness of the region.” Both said the thick texture would work best as a finishing oil on cold foods, with Kent recommending “using it like a Maldon salt” on a sea bass crudo, while Aizpitarte would drizzle it on a cold tomato soup.
Still, at $62 a liter, the chefs pronounced the oil overpriced. France’s renowned olive oil expert Alexis Munoz, who provides his product to Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, adds that Provencal oils are typically overpriced. “You have some olive oils with a lot of marketing because they know that for American or Chinese tourists, Provence is part of the French dream. So when you buy something in Provence you’re buying the image of the region,” he says, adding “you’re buying 50-percent product and 50-percent marketing.”