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Oli and Ve – Premium Olive Oil & Vinegars

While driving through old town Roswell, Ga, the other day we stopped at a completely unique and totally fun, shop called Oli+Ve Premium Oils & Vinegars.  Jughandle has only recommended a handful of places to our readers.  This is one to pay close attention to.

As the name suggests, the owners are proprietors of fine Olive Oils and Vinegar.  We here on the Farm have been searching high and low for a good consistent  reasonably priced source for olive oil for a long time.  The bonus with Oli + Ve is the amazing collection of  quality balsamic vinegars.

If you click on the link above you will be taken to the shop’s online store where you can purchase and have shipped to your home, their products.  Obviously, you will realize a saving of at least the shipping cost by visiting either of their two stores.  They also have cooking classes and recipes available.

olive oil pics

Olive Oils

The available oils vary by season and range from mild to full intensity flavors.  This being the winter season in the US, the available oils are from Sicily, Australia, Portugal and Chile.  You can sample as many of the oils as you would like to, try that at Kroger, with the recommendation of the owners to go from mild to medium to Robust flavors and then to the flavored oil and finally the vinegars. Prices for the oils are $9.95 for a 200 ml bottle, $17.95 for a 375 ml bottle and $29.95 for the large 750 ml bottle.

All of the offered oils are of the Extra Virgin or EVOO type, which is the highest quality oil available.  While the “single” variety EVOO had 9 different oils to chose from at our visit, there are also a number of Flavored or infused oils ranging in flavor from Basil to Blood Orange, Butter, Cilantro & Roasted Onion, garlic and Eureka Lemon.  To be honest we were a touch overwhelmed by all our options, so we chose to sample just the single variety and a handful of the vinegars on this trip.

Also offered are 4 specialty oils which we chose not to sample this time, but I look forward to on our next visit.  Those are Almond oil, Sesame, Walnut and White Truffle oil.  The first three sell for $18.95 and the White Truffle for $38.95 in a 375 ml bottle, which seem very reasonable to me.

Vinegars

While we were drawn to the shop for it’s olive oil, be became extremely excited about their vinegars.  Where to start?  Well, first of all balsamic vinegar MUST be made in Modena, Italy to be true, balsamic vinegar, just as Champagne is just sparkling wine if it doesn’t come from Champagne France.

Oli+Ve offer dark balsamic vinegars in around 25 different flavors.  I tried, Fig, Dark Chocolate, Blackberry Ginger, and Peach.  There were too many for one visit, but their website will list all of them.  Oh, ALL of the ones I tasted were KILLER.  Some flavors would make great desert sauces, some would be great BBQ sauces.  I tried the Cinnamon Pear on an ice cream sample I was offered. WOW!

Specialty vinegars include, premium white vinegar and red wine vinegar.

Keep in mind that you aren’t buying cheap boiled down vinegar with added sugar.  You are getting barrel aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy.

 

Our Purchases

We bought, a 750 ml bottle of the Robust, Organic Mission from California, which had just arrived, for every day use.  I got a 200 ml bottle of Eureka Lemon EVOO for dressings, and a 200 ml bottle of Fig Balsamic vinegar.  My wife, Darlene bought Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar for desert use.  We can’t wait to go back.  As another bonus, we received 6 check offs against our frequent shopper card that will get us a free bottle after 10 checks.  That won’t be hard at all. Oh, oh, oh, you can also bring back your clean bottle to be refilled and receive a $1 off.

I want everyone to frequent this shop, because quality products like these are hard to find and I’d like them to stay in business for a long time.  And make sure you tell them Jughandle’s Fat Farm sent you.  – jughandle

 

 

Olive Oil Scam Alert!

Some times it seems like we can’t win for losing.  Thanks to Mittie and her sister Dede for finding out of all things, about a Olive Oil Scam.  I’m still reading through all the information so I’ll print what Dede has provided for you to make your own conclusions and I’ll follow up later- jughandle

Read more about olives and its oil from a past Fat Farm post – here.

Get “real” olive oil on line:

Georgia Olive Farms

Story from Dede

Americans spend more than $700 million a year on olive oil,
but most of that may be money down the drain because of a
big-time olive oil scam.As much as two thirds of the high quality olive oil we buy —
and maybe even more — is not what it says on the bottle.We’re being duped into paying premium prices for a poor
quality product that may contain little or no olive oil at
all.And even if it does, it likely won’t be of the quality you
think you’re paying for.A book published late last year lifted the lid on the great
olive oil scam but it’s been known for years that, knowingly
or unknowingly, the people who sell the stuff to us may be
offering a phony product.

For example, a report produced in 2010 by UC-Davis found that
more than two thirds of common brands of extra virgin olive
oil being sold in California were nothing of the sort.

Sellers of inaccurately labeled oil included one of the
biggest names in grocery retailing in the US, though there’s
no suggestion the store chain knew of the deception.

In fact, of the dozens of stores whose sales were analyzed,
only six were selling the genuine product.

There are actually hundreds of varieties of olives but only a
few main classifications for olive oil, including:

* Extra virgin, which is literally the “juice” of freshly
picked olives. It is produced by pressing or a low heat
process but, importantly, does not use chemicals of the type
employed in the refining of other oils.

* Virgin olive oil, produced the same way but comes from riper
olives or a second pressing, though it is still wholesome.

* Blends — sometimes referred to as “light” or “pure.” That
they may be, but they include “refined” olive oil, which
usually means some or all of it has been chemically processed.

* Poor quality oil, known as “lampante,” using the Italian
word for lamp oil — considered unfit for human consumption —
which may be derived from old, rancid olives, often ones that
have been lying on the ground for some time, and likely has
been chemically processed.

In fact, lampante often turns up in olive oil mixtures. But,
if the oil is phony, it’s just as likely to contain mainly a
cheap seed oil like sunflower oil.

Just last year, two Spanish businessmen were jailed for
selling supposed extra virgin olive oil that was, in fact, 75%
sunflower oil.

And in 2007, some 10,000 cases of labeled olive oil seized by
US law enforcement officers were found to contain only soy oil.

The popularity of olive oil is due to its supposed health
giving properties; it is, after all, the only oil produced in
any quantity from fruit rather than nuts or seeds.

And the reason for the olive oil scam is simple — money.

Growing, nurturing and harvesting quality olives is an
expensive business. So if you can pass off cheap substitutes
as the real thing you can make a lot of money.

This is the theme Tom Mueller picks up in his book “Extra
Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.”

He says that producers are being forced out of business
because of the olive oil scam, since they can’t compete with
the low prices of the phony product.

“The honest people are getting terribly undercut,” he said in
a recent NPR broadcast. “There’s a huge unfair advantage in
favor of the bad stuff. At the same time, consumers are being
defrauded of the health and culinary benefits of great olive
oil.”

The crooks and even legitimate producers have many ways to
fool the public, apart from simply lying.

For example, labels might imply the oil was produced in Italy
when, in fact, it was only bottled there, having been produced
say in Africa or the Middle East — not that there’s anything
wrong with those sources, but implying the oil is from Italy
enables suppliers to charge a premium.

Sometimes, the real source may be declared, but buried in the
fine print on the label.

Furthermore, strict labeling requirements and quality checks
in Europe are driving the olive oil scam across the Atlantic
where disclosure rules are less stringent.

Bad or rancid olive oil does not have the antioxidant and
anti-inflammatory elements of olive oil, says Mueller, adding:
“What (good olive oil) gets you from a health perspective is a
cocktail of 200-plus highly beneficial ingredients that
explain why olive oil has been the heart of the Mediterranean
diet,” he says.

“Bad olives have free radicals and impurities, and then you’ve
lost that wonderful cocktail …that you get from fresh fruit,
from real extra-virgin olive oil.”

So, is there any way you can tell if you’re the victim of an
olive oil scam, or even whether you’re being intentionally or
unintentionally misled by the labeling on a bottle?

Well, first you can download that UC-Davis report, and learn
more about the content and flavors that contribute to the
olive quality – as well as seeing which stores were selling
what!

Download it here:
http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=7SGiO&m=JIRJ5xmnPGtWfo&b=tdsenOG2KMdNjkUsUzHcUw

Second, you can read the transcript of the NPR interview with
author Mueller here:
http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=7SGiO&m=JIRJ5xmnPGtWfo&b=Y.9uqogFKJ.CnT5towpviA

Here are 8 more tips culled from the book and other sources:

* Be suspicious of anything described as extra virgin that
costs less than $10 a liter. It likely isn’t the real thing
(although some prices come close).

* Look for the seal of the International Olive Council (IOC)
on the label (though, of course, crooks can forge this). Not
all products have the seal, but it’s a good sign if it’s
there.

* Look for a harvesting date or description on the label,
rather the same as you find on wine labels. If there’s a date
and/or harvest description, it’s probably genuine (though,
again, this could be forged).

* Educate yourself more about olives at the ICO site:
http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=7SGiO&m=JIRJ5xmnPGtWfo&b=QCRxN3pxOq8F9T0zZj1joA

* Understand that anything labeled as “light” or “pure” olive
oil likely has been processed and is not “virgin” quality.

* Opt for California-produced oil. It’s less likely to be part
of the olive oil scam than something from Italy or other
countries.

* If you’re able to smell the oil before you buy, do so. “It
should smell fresh and fruity, without any hint of mustiness,”
says Mueller.

* Shop for oil in dark bottles. A lot of genuine extra virgin
oil (excluding the big grocery stores’ own brands) is bottled
this way to protect the oil from harmful sunlight.

We don’t want to suggest that products that fail to meet the
requirements we’ve listed are necessarily phony.

It’s just that, on balance, you’re more likely to get a
genuine product by following these guidelines, sidestepping
the possibility of an olive oil scam.

That’s all we have for today, but we’ll be back next week with
another issue. See you then!

 From NPR

Extra Virginity

December 12, 2011

Extra-virgin olive oil is a ubiquitous ingredient in Italian recipes, religious rituals and beauty products. But many of the bottles labeled “extra-virgin olive oil” on supermarket shelves have been adulterated and shouldn’t be classified as extra-virgin, says New Yorker contributor Tom Mueller.

Mueller’s new book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, chronicles how resellers have added lower-priced, lower-grade oils and artificial coloring to extra-virgin olive oil, before passing the new adulterated substance along the supply chain. (One olive oil producer told Mueller that 50 percent of the olive oil sold in the United States is, in some ways, adulterated.)

The term “extra-virgin olive oil” means the olive oil has been made from crushed olives and is not refined in any way by chemical solvents or high heat.

“The legal definition simply says it has to pass certain chemical tests, and in a sensory way it has to taste and smell vaguely of fresh olives, because it’s a fruit, and have no faults,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “But many of the extra-virgin olive oils on our shelves today in America don’t clear [the legal definition].”

Extra-virgin olive oil wasn’t created until stainless steel milling techniques were introduced in the 1960s and ’70s. The technology allowed people to make much more refined olive oil.

“In the past, the technology that had been used had been used really by the Romans,” says Mueller. “You grounded the olives with stone mills [and] you crushed them with presses.”

The introduction of stainless steel milling techniques has allowed manufacturers to make more complex and flavorful extra-virgin olive oils, he says. But the process is also incredibly expensive — it costs a lot to properly store and mill extra-virgin olive oil. Mueller says that’s why some people blend extra-virgin olive oil with lower-grade, lower-priced products.

“Naturally the honest people are getting terribly undercut,” he says. “There’s a huge unfair advantage in favor of the bad stuff. At the same time, consumers are being defrauded of the health and culinary benefits of great olive oil.”

Bad or rancid olive oil loses the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil, says Mueller. “What [good olive oil] gets you from a health perspective is a cocktail of 200+ highly beneficial ingredients that explain why olive oil has been the heart of the Mediterranean diet,” he says. “Bad olives have free radicals and impurities, and then you’ve lost that wonderful cocktail … that you get from fresh fruit, from real extra-virgin olive oil.”


More On Olive Oil

Olives in oil. iStockphoto.com

Your Olive Oil May Not Be The Virgin It Claims

Researchers found more than two-thirds of sampled extra-virgin olive oil didn’t make the grade.

Olive oil bottle.

Olive Oil May Help Protect Against Strokes

French researchers found an link between liberal use of olive oil and a lower risk of stroke.

Olives

Olive Oil Season: A West Bank Kitchen Story

For Palestinians and Israelis, the annual olive harvest is central to the culture, economy.

A receptor in the back of the throat seems to recognize an anti-inflammatory agent in extra-virgin olive oil.

How Olive Oil And Ibuprofen Can Make You Want To Cough

Humans have transformed a defense against noxious fumes into an indicator of gourmet quality.

Interview Highlights

On why 4 out of 10 bottles that say Italian olive oil are not actually Italian olive oil

 

“A lot of those oils have been packed in Italy or have been transited through Italy just long enough to get the Italian flag on them. That’s not, strictly speaking, illegal — but I find it a legal fraud, if you will.”

On extra light olive oil

 

“Extra light is just as caloric as any other oil — 120 calories per tablespoon, but the average person looking at it might say, ‘Oh, well, I’ve heard olive oil is a fat, so I will try extra light olive oil.’ … It’s highly, highly refined. It has almost no flavor and no color. And it is, in fact, extra-light in the technical sense of being clear.”

On which oil to use while frying or sauteing

 

“From a health point of view, olive oil is wonderful [for frying]. From a taste point of view, there are times when at really, really high temperatures, an extra-virgin with really bitter flavors and pungency can become a little unbalanced. And the bitterness can become overbearing. And obviously, from an economic point of view, if you’re spending a lot of money for an extra-virgin, maybe high-heat cooking in some circumstances really isn’t the best thing. But for lower heat, every extra-virgin olive oil is good — it really depends on the dish you’re putting together.”

On using olive oil as a dressing for ice cream

 

“Get a bottle of really, really powerful, bitter and pungent oil, and pour it over some really good ice cream. And it is like an injection of liquid sunshine. It’s quite a treat.”