Gourmet Living is delighted to announce the launch of its new extra virgin olive oil (“EVOO”) from California. My husband and I have been looking for a wonderful domestic olive oil with a “peppery European aftertaste.” We are thrilled with this lovely olive oil made from the Picual olive. The oil is capped with nitrogen so it won’t begin to oxidize until it is opened. In non-scientific blind “tastings,” we have found that quite a few friends and family preferred the California EVOO to some samples of comparable Tuscan olive oil. We are thrilled, and hope you will be too!
We decided to stick to the convenient 500 ml (almost 17 oz) bottle. With 33 servings in a bottle, this size will normally last me about 6 weeks. Properly stored out of sunlight, this EVOO will not lose much taste for about a year. Addicted to the Mediterranean diet, we generally use olive oil instead of butter and use it daily on salads, roasted vegetables and I will often sauté a chicken breast or piece of veal in this olive oil. The quality of this olive oil is excellent and probably better than the olive oil that is served at many restaurants to dip in your bread. Enjoy.
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Q – What are the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil?
A – The health benefits of using extra virgin olive oil is a very controversial subject. The proponents of the benefits olive oil suggest that the regular use of olive oil can reduce heart disease and helps control diabetes. Others maintain that these “health benefits” are not supported by clinical trials. However, both sides maintain that eating fresh fruits and vegetables (commonly eaten with EVOO) are healthier than most factory-processed foods.
Q – How much more expensive is extra virgin olive oil (“EVOO”)?
A – The production of EVOO tends to be more labor intensive than the production of other vegetable oils. Prices for a 500 ml (17FL oz) bottle of EVOO can vary between $4 and $20. Not all oils labeled “extra virgin olive oil” are truly harvested and bottled under the protocols established by the International Olive Council. Good quality oils from reputable producers in Italy, Greece and Spain tend to be more expensive. I often pay $20 or more for a 500ml bottle of EVOO to use on salads and braised vegetables.
Q – What is the conversion rate to substitute butter for olive oil?
A – One tsp (teaspoon) of butter is roughly equivalent to 3/4 tsp of olive oil.
Q – What’s the best extra virgin olive oil?
A – I don’t think there is any way to determine the “best” extra virgin olive oil. There are many factors that go into establishing the quality of various olive oils:
- Differences in the harvested crop each season;
- Region and soil content where the olives are grown;
- Age of the bottled olive oil
- Bottling process (is nitrogen used to prevent the oil from oxidizing?)
- Is the olive oil a blend of different varieties?