Olive Oil- not just an anagram for "I Love Oil"
September 2, 2009
Homer called it “Liquid Gold”. In the Mediterranean it served as much more than a food- it was medicinal, magical, and also a source of endless wealth for anyone who could harvest it. Huge vases, known as amphorae, containing 38 litres of olive oil were even given to victors of the panathenaic games in ancient Greece. Today, olive oil is still considered important- even if its magical appeal has been lost somewhat- it still possesses all those elements which made it so appealing.
Of course one of the major appeals of olive oil is its health benefits. The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high concentration of monsaturated fatty acids and also its high concentration of antioxidative substances. Both of which help control cholesterol. So next time you’re layering on the butter onto your toast just remember that it’s not only better for you- but also tastes better too. Of course now the question remains with all these benefits and such a long history- which olive oil is the right one for your needs?
Well generally I’m sure most people are familiar with the terms extra-virgin and virgin. When it comes to olive oil this term refers to the natural acidity found in the olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil allows for a maximum of only 1% acidity in each bottle. While virgin allows for anything up to 3% acidity. A third term you may see regularly on bottles of olive oil is “cold pressed”, this term is largely unregulated and has become somewhat obsolete in recent years. Its origins can be traced back to, shall we say, slightly more dishonest olive oil makers who would heat up the olive after the first pressing in order to squeeze more oil out of them. This of course made for extremely disappointing olive oil’s. So the term “cold pressed” was introduced in the hope of stopping this.
In store we have several different Olive Oils from some of the best producers in the world. From Italy we have two different olive oils from the Calvi family. The first is olio extravergine di oliva classico. This oil has a warm gold colour, great balance, and a mild taste that goes great with Smoked Salmon. The second from the calvi family is “Pinzinmolio”. This oil is ideal for seasoning all fresh vegetables, and goes great as crudites. From Spain we then have a high quality extra virgin olive oil from the betis producer. This excellent olive oil goes well with salads, fish, and pasta.While traditionally the best olive oils come from the Mediterranean, their is certainly one exception to this rule. Mahana Olive Oil from New Zealand. This Olive Oil offers citrus mixes with walnut and Brazil nut, yet still posses a silky smooth texture. It is the perfect accompaniment to pasta dishes, salad, and fish.
Finally, for those of you who are felling slightly adventures, I’ll leave you with a recipe from Jamie Oliver. Its simple really all you need is some vanilla ice cream, olive oil, and sea salt. Place the ice cream in a bowl, pour the olive oil over it, and add the sea salt. For anyone who is brave enough to try this then I’d love to hear what you thought of it!