Speaking from his ristorante on College Avenue in Oakland, Chef Michele Belotti suddenly pointed to his arm and said, “You see, I got goosebumps,” when someone mentioned a special olive oil they had both tasted last year. That kind of acute palate memory can be learned, but in Belotti’s case, it was bred from childhood as he came to know the flavors of foods coming from around his Northern Italian town. As Belotti notes, distinct flavors in each olive oil are a result of the olive cultivar, where the tree is grown, and how the oil is milled and handled. It’s this refinement that we find in the dishes we enjoy at his restaurant and takeout pasta bottega on Piedmont Avenue.
Belotti first created this soup for a Séka Hills 2016 Harvest Olive Oil Tasting Lunch, which showcased various oils he had tasted on a visit to the Séka Hills orchards and mill in California’s Capay Valley.