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Gourmet Living

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - California

Sale price $ 21.50 Regular price $ 23.50

California EVOO made exclusively from the Picual olive.  Olive oil is a great substitute for butter with many nutritional benefits and it at the heart of the Mediterranean diet.  

While I still use butter (I prefer Irish and French), rarely a day goes by when I don't use olive oil.  It is not surprising that 90% of the world's production of olive oil occurs in Spain (45%), Italy (25%) and Greece (20%).  Extra virgin olive oil is produced using mechanical means and the olive oil is extracted using no heat.  In short, extra virgin olive oil is natural and the ideal component to pair with vegetables and other food products.  

There are many different varieties of olives and like wine, each year's harvest produces a slightly different taste.   Having sampled hundreds of different olive oils, I have found that the color of the oil has little bearing on its taste.  Italians will argue that the best olive oils come from Sicily or Liguria, but both Greece and Spain have some great oils.   We are thrilled to introduce the 2015 vintage California extra virgin olive oil from the Picual olive.  

California Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • This 500 ml bottle Extra Virgin Olive Oil from California is made from the Picual olive;
  • 100% organic extra virgin olive oil ("EVOO") is estate bottle in California and topped with nitrogen to avoid having the oil come in contact with the air;
  • This 2015 harvested EVOO has a shelf-life of no less than two years, but best consumed within 6 months;
  • EVOO is considered a more great substitute for butter and at the heart of the Mediterranean diet
  • Next time, rather than bring a bottle of wine to your host, why not try a bottle of extra virgin olive oil?

A Primer on Olive Oil

I use extra virgin olive oil daily for salads, braised vegetables and even pasta.  Even though you can, I rarely cook with EVOO since it changes the taste of the oil and it begins to smoke at a much lower heat than other vegetable oils.  The fact that EVOO is mechanically pressed, uses only the best olives and is not subject to heat, means that you are using a natural food product with limited processing.

olive tree orchard

Depending on the olive variety, olive trees can begin to produce fruit in 8 to 12 years, while peak production normally occurs when a tree is 20 to 40 years old.    Nevertheless, olive trees can produce fruit for many years unless they become diseased (which occurred in Italy in 2014).  The olives are generally harvested by machine, ground and pressed and then the oil is separated with a decanter.  The oil is then preserved in cool storage facilities that are not exposed to the light. 

olives and olive oil collage

There are a dozen or so varieties of olives that produce olive oil.   The International Olive Council and USDA have nearly identical standards for determining the standards for extra virgin olive oil.  In general, the grapes must be harvested by mechanical means, have few defects and good fruitiness and have free fatty acid less than or equal to 0.8 m/m expressed as oleic acid.  

Things to Consider When Buying Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil will generally be clearly marked on the label of the bottle, but the USDA has greatly expanded its monitoring program to insure that EVOO is not cut with other less expensive vegetable oils.

Here are a few additional suggestions when shopping for extra virgin olive oil;

  • Check ingredients to determine if there have been any additives;
  • Check the country of origin of the olive oil;
  • Experiment with a variety of extra virgin olive oils and choose ones that are fruity and - in my opinion - have a somewhat peppery aftertaste;
  • Check all labeling to determine the year of harvest, whether it is organic or not or any other certificate of authenticity;
  • Avoid store brands, since they are produced or purchased in bulk to keep the price low.  
  • Unless you regularly use olive oil in home cooking, purchase olive oil in a size that is no greater than 500 ml.  Extra virgin olive oil should be consumed within 6 months. 

Fore more information on consult the FAQ on Olive Oil on our website.

How I Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I use extra virgin olive oil each day.  It is a great substitute for butter any many say that it is far healthier for you.  I find it best to use it with a salad or drizzled over braised vegetables.  You can certainly cook with extra virgin olive oil, but given its cost it is probably a luxury you may with to avoid. 

A 500 ml bottle of EVOO normally lasts about 6 weeks, but good olive oil will last about a year after opened if stored properly out of the sunlight.  

 


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