Production of olives for olive oil in Portugal is expected to have fallen by 30 percent in 2016 to less than 500,000 tonnes, and the autumn/winter grain growing area to have fallen to an “all-time low” according to projections from the National Statistics Institute.
According to INE, the drop in olive production for oil was the result of “adverse weather and the annual production rotation of traditional olive groves,” and expects total production of about 491,000 tonnes
(-30 percent against 2015), but “good quality” olive oil.
As for autumn/winter grains there was a “general reduction of installed areas,” compared to the previous year due to periods of intense cold and a lack of rain.
INE’s projections point to drops of around 5 percent in rye area, 10 percent in common wheat, triticale and barley and of 15 percent for durum wheat, with a total grain area of around 130,000 hectares, “which is the lowest recorded in the last three decades, in a year in which weather conditions made it possible for planting to go ahead as normal.”
“In the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, people have not been living alone. For thousands of years, they have been living together with a different kind of population, a population that constantly grows and expands over the plains, the slopes and the mountains of the hinterland of the Mediterranean countries. This is the population of the olive trees,” as we learn from the back cover of a new book, On the Olive Routes by Nikos Michelakis, Angela Malmou, Anaya Sarpaki, and George Fragiadakis.
Above there is a series of educational games and digital books created under the Project of Raising Youth Awareness for Olive and Olive Oil from Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities in cooperation with the International Olive Council (http://www.olivegames.gr/).
This is Sicilian inspired and can be sweet-sour (in which case add the raisins) or simply savoury (in which case leave them out). Apart from a quick browning on the stove top, this dish really looks after itself. (Serves 4)
INGREDIENTS 1½ tbsp olive oil
8 chicken thighs, or a chicken jointed into 8 pieces
3 medium red onions, peeled and cut into half-moon-shaped wedges about 1cm (½in) thick at the widest part
2 celery sticks, trimmed and diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 small dried chillis, crumbled
500g (1lb 2oz) baby waxy potatoes, halved
250ml (9fl oz) white wine
finely grated zest of ½ orange, plus juice of 1
75g (2¾oz) raisins, soaked in boiling water for half an hour, then drained (optional)
2 tbsp capers, rinsed
75g (2¾oz) green olives
30g (1oz) pine nuts, toasted
for the gremolata
2 garlic cloves
zest of 1 small orange, removed in strips (cut away any bitter white pith)
leaves from about 10 stems of mint, torn
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.Heat the olive oil in a wide oven-proof sauté pan or shallow casserole (large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer – or use two) and brown the chicken on both sides, seasoning as you go. You are just trying to get a good colour, not cook the chicken through. Remove the joints to a dish as they’re ready.
Pour off all but 1 tbsp of oil from the pan and add the onions. Cook over a medium heat to colour, then add the celery, cooking for two minutes before adding the garlic and chilli. Cook for a further minute, add the potatoes and toss them around, then add the wine, orange juice and zest, and the raisins (if using). Put the chicken back (plus any juices that have run out of it), skin-side up in a single layer. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Season well and transfer to the oven for 40 minutes.
Add the capers and olives 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time, stirring them in around the chicken joints. The cooking juices will have reduced, the potatoes should be tender and the chicken will be cooked through.
Meanwhile make the gremolata by chopping the garlic and orange zest finely, then mix with the mint. Toss this over the chicken with the toasted pine nuts just before serving. A big watercress salad is all you need on the side – everything else is in the pan.
A number of chefs at independent or small chain restaurants are also innovating with salt and sweet as a way to add interest and increase sales at the bar.
At Tamo Bistro & Bar at the Seaport Hotel in Boston, chef Robert Tobin accidentally created the Dirty Martini, a salty and sweet combo of fried blue cheese stuffed olives served with honey harvested from the hotel’s rooftop beehives. Initially, Tobin was just making the fried blue cheese stuffed olives, but after a first taste he thought they were too salty. He tried several variations in cheese, olives and crust, but nothing solved the problem. Then, while making a spicy-and-sweet dip, Tobin tried some honey and knew it was a perfect solution.
Photography by James Wojcik/Art Dept./trunkarchive.com
Olive oil may be the most cultivated cooking ingredient. Called “liquid gold” by the ancient Greeks, refinement pours from a perfectly chosen bottle — and the one who did the choosing. What’s more, Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, and author of The O2 Diet, says, “Healthy fats and antioxidants in olive oil provide a host of body benefits such as lowering your risk for heart disease, boosting brainpower, warding off wrinkles and more.”
Related: Why Eating Fat Makes You Lose Fat
But for such an essential element, most of us know far less about olive oil’s finer points than, say, a good Cabernet. So we turned to Nick Coleman, chief olive oil specialist at Mario Batali’s Eataly, for advice. Click through the gallery below for his favorite labels and top tips for stocking and cooking with the viscous liquid.
Olives are a very popular snack. They can be found in anything from cocktails to healthy salads. They add a delicious flavor to anything they touch and even taste great alone. This recipe for Stuffed and Fried Bar Olives is an interesting way to serve up olives. These are a delicious alternative to snatching them out of the jar.
The recipe is quicks and easy to execute. A food processor is needed to grind up the almonds. The olives are stuffed with a cream cheesy mixture that consists of cream cheese, spicy chorizo, and smoky almonds. These would go great with either an ice cold beer or a glass of wine. Imagine the salty flavor of the olive mixed with the chorizo, almonds and cream cheese. These are definitely something to try.
Two more delicacies are rising in price as lovers of fine food are coming to terms with a goat’s cheese shortage.
Premium olives and almonds will both be costing more, according to magazine The Grocer. Greece’s crop of Chalkidiki olives – often stuffed and used in premium chilled lines – is being picked now and could be down by as much as 80% on last year because of poor weather, it reported. This will push up costs and some suppliers predict consequent retail price increases of more than 50%. Meanwhile almond prices are expected to rise because of crop problems and growing demand.
Production in California – the world’s largest almond producer, at about 80% of global supply – is expected to be down 2% year on year for 2013/14. The decline may be partly the result of a fall in the local bee population, which hindered pollination. The main almond region in Spain – another major producer – suffered from exceptionally wet weather this spring, which cut the number of maturing almond plants. Demand for almonds is high, with China and India increasingly competing with European buyers for stocks. More encouragingly, Richard Waycott, president and chief executive of the California Almond Board, said while Californian production would be lower, “this will most likely still be the third-largest crop on record”.
Earlier this month, The Grocer said that Britain faced a goat’s cheese shortage because of increased demand and reduced supply.