Spice Road Spices
Artisan Spice Merchants

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Olive Oil 2017 Harvest - an essential ingredient

Arthur Huxley - 27-08-2017

To start our review of the importance of best quality Olive Oil and the pitfalls of using lower grade Olive Oil, I thought no better way to commence than comments from arguably the finest organic Olive Oil producer in Australia - Toscana Grampians. Victoria.

"Organic farming, a unique mix of rare varieties, the right climate and the age of our olive trees are what create the unique flavour of our oil. True to our philosophy of quality over quantity, we undertake every process from tree to bottle with great care. Our 28,000 olive trees are low-density planted in the traditional 10 x 10m layout. Our grove is certified organic and dryland farmed, meaning it relies solely on rainfall with absolutely no irrigation, producing a low yield of oil beautifully concentrated in flavour. Our heritage olive trees are a mix of traditional and rare olive varieties such as Verdale, Bouquettier and Benito. While these varieties produce a low yield the flavour and quality of the oil produced is exceptional, enhanced by the age of the trees".

"Olio Nuovo - How special it is, how fresh it is, why is that important. - Special details about the 2017 harvest - what to expect from this years press?"

"Our limited release First Harvest Olio Nuovo (new oil) is cloudy, unfiltered and is picked, immediately cold pressed and then bottled within 24 hours. The oil is a medium flavour intensity and being from our very first harvest/pressing of the season is mostly from green olives – the flavour profile displays complex fruitiness, green herbaceous characters and a peppery finish. Normally it takes approximately 7kg of our olives to make 1 litre of oil, this season it has taken around 16kg to make 1 litre of olio nuovo so it's extra special and also extra flavoursome! "

"Have you tasted freshly pressed olive oil before? Straight off the press and still cloudy the flavours are amazingly vibrant and fruity. Oil is best fresh! Heat, light, oxygen and time degrade the quality of olive oil from the moment it is pressed. Olio nuovo is the freshest oil you will get without pressing your own!"

That pretty much covers it. The thing is no matter how good your Spices or Seasonings, if you start with inferior Olive Oil, this will carry through to your dish.

Many imported Olive Oils, usually "supermarket specials" are frankly, dreadful. A quick taste, if you could do that, would tell you. Many of these oils are made from reject or just inferior, carelessly grown olives, often imported from the Mediterranean and many have a helping of Sunflower oil.

Of course there are many other high quality Australian Olive Oil producers and they too are very much worth following and supporting. .

And clearly there are wonderful imported Olive Oils, many from Greece and Portugal but the price is scary ! We would love Home Chef comments on all of this.

Our thanks to Toscana Grampians for their contribution.

Our spices begin their journey.