Sometimes you find a great ingredient. If you're very lucky, it's not too expensive. If you're really, really lucky, you know the producer, and take a smug satisfaction from getting a special insight into its production, as well as knowing you'll never have trouble locating your next jar/bottle/ packet of The Lovely Thing you've found.
This is how I felt when The Chap's colleague started a co-operative with neighbours at his holiday home in Tuscany, producing great olive oil for sale in the UK. I was particularly in love with the lemon olive oil they made. It is great in salads, but is also robust enough to use in cooking. The peppery olive oil flavour was perfectly balanced with lemon oil, and I splashed it liberally onto rocket leaves, salads of tomato and basil, into fish stews or onto roast chicken...
And then I ran out.
As The Chap and Olive Oil Man no longer work together, both of them having wisely taken early retirement, I knew I'd have to wait till The Chap went to visit his old stomping grounds (I have whisked him away from the mean streets of South Cheshire to dwell with me in pastoral bliss in the Lincolnshire flatlands). In the meantime we visited a couple of food festivals, but although I was on the lookout, I couldn't find any lemon olive oil half as nice, even though it was all twice the price.
So yesterday, after a visit to his old mum in Southport, The Chap swung by to see Olive Oil Man, to stock up on lemon olive oil as a little surprise for me. Disaster! Turns out the business lost money in its first couple of years, and they have reluctantly decided to call it a day. Olive Oil Man sent The Chap away with half a dozen small bottles of lemon olive oil, gratis (awwww...), from the remaining stock in the garage.
So fare thee well, Frantoio dei Colli - it was a short but sweet affair. I will use you sparingly (which is sad), savouring every last drop till you are finally gone forever. As we all learn sooner or later, some romances just don't last forever - no matter how much we might want them to.