Ari's Top 5, Deli, Food, Mail Order

Onsa’s Olive Oil

Outstanding offering from the southern Mediterranean

Khalil Gibran says, “Work is love made visible”. The products of the Mahjoub family are their love—for Tunisia, for its culture, for its cooking, for humankind—made visible and eminently edible. They’re DELICIOUS!

Tunisia is a place few Americans have visited, and it’s a cuisine only a handful have had the chance to experience. I’ve been very fortunate. My first trip to Tunisia was probably nine or 10 years ago. Having experienced it firsthand, I’ve had the chance to fall in love with both the food, the culture, and the cuisine.

My beliefs about Tunisia—in all its aspects—have been hugely influenced by the Mahjoub family. When I first tried their harissa, I was blown away. Over the years they’ve become part of the ever-growing, extended Zingerman’s community. Majid and his wife Onsa have come to visit a number of times. We sell their stuff on our shelves at the Deli and through Mail Order. We’ve cooked with it regularly at the Deli and Roadhouse, and I use it all the time at my house! Every single thing they make is exceptional.

Onsa’s Oil is the most recent addition to their amazing line of products, one that’s made specially for us. It’s made from the same, unique-to-Tunisia chetoui olives that they use in their usual excellent oil. This one, though, is lovingly managed by Majid. In a small section of the orchard, they are allowed to remain on the tree a bit longer to make for a very smooth, soft, buttery and beautifully delicious oil. Majid likes to say it’s “subtle” in his Tunisian-accented English. With his usual poetic voice, he says it’s, “Less thick with lavishly generous and fragile substances.”

I say, its sensually soft flavors make it ideal for fish and seafood. Delicious on delicate pasta dishes or salads. Great on the Mahjoub’s couscous. I like it cooked plain with a bit of sea salt and pepper and olive oil. If you’re in town, come ask for a taste at the Deli. If not, you’ll find it at Mail Order.