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In November last year, we spent an evening exploring Deruta. The site of an ancient Roman settlement succeeded by a medieval comune, in the picturesque Umbria region of Italy, the hill town is famous for its ceramics — especially tin-glazed maiolica pottery. Given their popularity in the export market, the umpteen shops peddling unbelievably beautiful wares were a wee bit expensive. But at one of these little shop-studios, we made friends with the septuagenarian potter. The enthusiasm with which he demonstrated the whole process from scratch was so contagious, we couldn’t resist. We wanted something to remember him by. In a region where anointment with olive oil used to be a ritual honour, this lovely blue and yellow decanter (€30) seemed an apt memento. Its distinctive bright-white base — that’s the tin glaze — certainly seems to underline the purity and flavour of olive oil I also brought home from Italy.
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