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Meet the “Olive Oil Enthusiasts” with a Forthcoming Book of Information and Recipes from Italy

American Skyler Mapes, owner of EXAU Olive Oil with her Italian husband Giuseppe Morisani, shares the inspiration and intentions of the couple's new book "The Olive Oil Enthusiast."

By Skyler Mapes

9:00 AM EDT on August 9, 2023

Giuseppe Morisani and Skyler Mapes

Giuseppe Morisani and Skyler Mapes

For the past three years, my husband, Giuseppe, and I have been working on our book, The Olive Oil Enthusiast (August 15, Ten Speed Press). We've always wanted to write a book, not necessarily about olive oil (our passion and profession) but about food and Calabria (where we live and work in southern Italy). In 2020, when we were all stuck at home, we were approached by a publisher and asked what we thought a book about olive oil could look like. And most importantly, how we could organize and shape complex information in a way that was not only beautiful but easy to understand by readers. This was a challenge we gleefully accepted!

Giuseppe and I are the founders of EXAU, a small, high-quality Italian olive oil company (rated as one of Oprah's Favorite Things from 2020). We are farmers, producers, and most importantly olive oil enthusiasts. Giuseppe is from Calabria, Italy, and is a third generation olive oil producer. I'm from Oakland, California with a background in design and winemaking. In 2017, after a year of planning, we decided to make a shift in our careers and work our first olive harvest.

With our first bottles in hand, we started selling EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) to customers at in-person events and parties in 2018. We quickly noticed several things:

- There was a huge demand for premium EVOO.

- Customers weren't getting accurate information about our favorite cooking fat.

- The olive oil industry was doing a really mediocre job of helping people understand the product.

This is something we set out to remedy, one craft fair and blog post at a time. In the beginning, our reach was small. But over time, and with the help of social media, the conversation and dialogue around olive oil began to expand. It became clear that this book was not only going to answer many questions but also going to welcome an entirely new generation of home cooks to the world of olive oil.

The cover of The Olive Oil Enthusiast.
The Olive Oil Enthusiast will be published on August 15 by Ten Speed Press. Illustration by Maria Jesus Contreras.

The Olive Oil Enthusiast is everything we wish we could tell readers and EVOO lovers over a long dinner. It's everything we used to tell our customers at in-person events. And it's what I wish I had known when I first started cooking in college. It's a book for food enthusiasts, both young and old. And most importantly, like EVOO, the book is easy to digest.

With beautiful 1970s-inspired illustrations, at times you may feel like you're reading a comic book or magazine, and that's what makes this book so fun. And lastly, it includes 20 recipes ranging from Giuseppe's Zia's traditional melanzane repiene (stuffed eggplant) to marinated anchovies to classic fudgy brownies. We hope you'll read it, gift it, or make something delicious from its pages.

For starters, try this Pasta al Pomodoro recipe.

Follow and tag EXAU on InstagramFacebook, or TikTok.

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