Olive you. Olive you more!

Cooking with this adored Mediterranean fruit

It’s difficult to describe the tastes and flavors of foods. Olives are an especially hard case. Nothing tastes remotely like them, so it’s impossible to compare them to any other food.

Olive bread

Olive bread

Novelist Lawrence Durrell did the best job of evoking them when he wrote, “The whole Mediterranean, the sculpture, the palms, the gold beads, the bearded heroes . . . all of it seems to rise in the sour, pungent smell of these black olives between the teeth. A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.”

Cultivation of the olive is certainly ancient. The gnarly trees, their green-and-silver leaves trembling in any breeze, are native to the Mediterranean. In Israel, there’s evidence of olive oil production in 6000 BC, and on the Greek island of Naxos, archeologists have discovered remains of olive oil in a jug dating to 4,000 BC.

Indeed, the olive tree was so vital to the Greeks that they embedded it in their myth of Athena. When she struck the Acropolis with her spear, the first olive tree sprang forth. This magic underwhelmed the witnesses, who grumbled that the sea-god Poseidon would have given them a better gift. But after Athena taught them how to cultivate the tree and process its products for food, light and timber, they realized its many virtues and named their city Athens in her honor.

Greece remains a major grower, producing 11 percent of the world’s olives and consuming 23 liters of olive oil per person per year. (Americans consume about one liter.)

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Chocolate Made With Olive Oil

K & M Chocolates are made with olive oil instead of cocoa butter.

K & M Chocolates are made with olive oil instead of cocoa butter.

The chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller is now in the chocolate business: a bean-to-bar partnership with Armando Manni, a Tuscan olive oil producer. The idea was born five years ago, when the men were discussing the antioxidant properties of dark chocolate and olive oil. The results, called K & M Extravirgin Chocolate (they say it “K plus M”), are made in a former warehouse in Napa, Calif., where the cacao undergoes a special, gentler process to preserve the bean’s antioxidant properties. Mr. Manni’s olive oil is used in place of cocoa butter. The 75 percent cacao bars come in three varieties, according to the source of the chocolate. The Peruvian bar has coffeelike depth, the bar from Ecuador is smooth with woodsy hints of chestnut, and the Madagascar bar is spicy with notes of pineapple and passion fruit. You do not taste the olive oil.

Greek Volunteers Harvest Olives for Fellow Residents in Need

As olives were harvested this fall to be prepped for the massive olive oil production that takes place throughout Greece, a special harvest took place in the municipality of Glyfada involving a humanitarian effort by the city and volunteers to provide olive oil to people in need.

O πρώτος διεθνής διαγωνισμός ελαιόλαδου στη χώρα μας είναι γεγονός!

της Κικής Τριανταφύλλη

Την πρωτοβουλία διοργάνωσης του Πρώτου Διεθνούς Διαγωνισμού Ελαιολάδου Αθηνών, «Athena International Olive Oil Competition», που θα διεξαχθεί στις 21 και 22 Μαρτίου 2016 στο ξενοδοχείο  Electra  Palace στην Πλάκα, έχει αναλάβει η Vinetum Event Management, εταιρεία επικοινωνίας με μεγάλη πείρα στην οργάνωση εκθέσεων, συνεδρίων, διαγωνισμών και άλλων εκδηλώσεων υψηλού κύρους και απαιτήσεων.

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Δυο επαγγελματίες που διατηρούν στενή σχέση με το κρασί αλλά και με το ελαιόλαδο είναι οι εμπνευστές που ανέλαβαν, σε περίοδο κρίσης, το ρίσκο της διοργάνωσης. Πρόεδρος του διαγωνισμού είναι ο Ντίνος Στεργίδης, ιδιοκτήτης και Διευθύνων Σύμβουλος της Vinetum, και Διευθύντρια η Μαρία Κατσούλη, 1η ελληνίδα οινοχόος, διαπιστευμένη γευσιγνώστρια ελαιολάδου και 1η οινοχόος ελαιολάδου της Ελλάδος, ενώ panel leader όλων των κριτών θα είναι η διεθνώς καταξιωμένη γευσιγνώστρια ελαιόλαδου Αλίκη Γαλή.

Ο διαγωνισμός «Athena International Olive Oil Competition» είναι διεθνής τόσο ως προς τους κριτές όσο και τη συμμετοχή δειγμάτων και αφορά μόνο τυποποιημένα ελαιόλαδα της κατηγορίας εξαιρετικά παρθένα (extra virgin). Οι ξένοι κριτές αποτελούν τα 2/3 του συνολικού αριθμού κριτών ενώ στόχος των οργανωτών είναι τα δείγματα ελαιολάδων από το εξωτερικό να υπερβαίνουν το 30% του συνολικού αριθμού δειγμάτων.Το πρώτο ξένο δείγμα ήρθε ήδη από την Πορτογαλία ενώ αναμένονται επίσης δείγματα από ελαιοπαραγωγούς χώρες όπως το Ισραήλ, η Ιταλία, η Ισπανία, η Κροατία, η Τουρκία, το Μαρόκο, η Τυνησία ακόμη και από το Περού.
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Educational Games for Olive and Olive Oil

“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.

OliveGames and Routes

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/).

(Source: http://www.oliveoiltimes.com)

Picking the right olive oil can really elevate your cooking

Olive OilIf you’re not a chef from Italy, you may not give much thought to the olive oil in your kitchen. But indifference about olive oil is a culinary mistake worth fixing.

“If I had to choose just one ingredient, I’d choose olive oil,” says Cosimo Danese, the Italian head chef at BiCE Ristorante at the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort. “I couldn’t work without it. It’s very important. It gives great taste to the food. You don’t need to add anything else to the dish.”

But all olive oil is not created equal. Danese says it’s important to always use extra-virgin olive oil. It’s higher quality and superior in taste to all other olive oils (virgin olive oil is lower in quality but still ranks well in taste). Stay away from refined olive oil, often labelled simply as “olive oil” or “pure olive oil”.

You can find good extra-virgin olive oil in a hypermarket, but Danese says you need to know what to look for.

“If it doesn’t list the region on the bottle, then it’s probably a blend. That’s no good,” he says. “That just means they got the olives from all over. There’s no quality control. You want to know exactly where the olives come from and what kind of olives are used.”

The varieties

Different countries and regions produce different olives. Understanding the characteristics of the olives in a region can help you select the right olive oil for what you’re cooking. For example, southern Italy produces olives with a strong flavour, while olives from the North are milder.

The olive-oil expert Stephanie Lerouge, a regional buyer at Eataly in Dubai, says olive oil should be tasted on its own, like any other ingredient. “Our Eataly staff will take the time to do a tasting with you so you can learn all the information about the characteristics of the olive oil,” she says.

Danese also wants to educate consumers, and he and his team at BiCE are doing their part. Their signature olive-oil trolley passes through the restaurant every night, featuring more than a dozen options from different regions of Italy.

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Ingredient in Olive Oil Looks Promising in the Fight Against Cancer

Oleocanthal kills cancer cells with their own enzymes

Olive Oil Improves Heart Health

By ISABEL PUTINJA on November 22, 2014

Regular consumption of olive oil can improve heart health even in those who don’t follow a Mediterranean diet, according to a new European study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Regular consumption of olive oil can improve heart health even in those who don’t follow a Mediterranean diet, according to a new European study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Regular consumption of olive oil can improve heart health even in those who don’t follow a Mediterranean diet, according to a new European study published in The American Journal of Clinical A pan-European team of researchers from the University of Glasgow (Scotland), University of Lisbon (Portugal), Instituto de Biologia Experimental Tecnologica, Oeiras (Portugal) and private firm Mosaiques Diagnostics (Germany) examined the effects of phenols, which are natural compounds produced by plants and found in olives, on the heart health of 69 volunteers as part of the study.
SEE MORE: The Health Benefits of Olive Oil
The volunteers, who were in good health and not regular consumers of olive oil, were divided into two groups and given 20ml (0.67 US Oz) of olive oil either high, or low, in phenols every day for a period of six weeks.Nutrition on November 19, 2014.

(Source/Read more: http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-health-news/olive-oil-improves-heart-health/42870)

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How to Find the Best Olive Oil

The kind of oil you use in your food matters. This is true especially when it comes to bottles labeled extra-virgin olive oil, which can be anything from awful to something so sublime you want to sip it from a spoon. Picking a bottle at random from the supermarket shelf just because it has the lowest price won’t solve the problem. You need to be an informed consumer, especially since most governments aren’t doing a great job of weeding out the olive oil shams from the saints, the U.S. included.

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In a $12 billion global business, the stakes are high, so producers go to great lengths to keep selling enormous volumes. “Most [sellers] are just traders who mix olive oil in Frankenstein quantities and call it extra-virgin olive oil,” says Tom Mueller, author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. “In most cases of crappy oil, it’s not from the place on the label. It is a jungle out there. Koroneiki [the most common Greek variety] is a perfect blending oil that gives generic oil oomph.” As for the problem of shipping oil transatlantic in hot containers, “only the best who care what oil is will ship in refrigerated containers,” adds Dan Flynn, executive director of the UC Davis Olive Center. “But most don’t even consider it.”

So how do you pick a good olive oil—and there are many made by impassioned, principled professionals—that you can trust and that’s right for you? Essentially by learning more about olive oil quality and grades, using your senses to taste and smell it, and listening to referrals to get the best stuff. Flynn asks that you keep one thing in mind: If you’ve had a bad OO experience; don’t turn away from it. There are plenty of great olive oils within reach. Our olive oil primer below will help you get started.

What is olive oil? First understand that olive oil is the juice of a fruit—the olive. This fruit juice, like wine, is alive in the bottle and continually changing with external conditions like high heat, which can oxidize and (rarely) hydrogenate it, and light such as UV, which oxidizes the oil and breaks down its chlorophyll. Several varieties of olive, each with its own characteristics, can produce oil. But the best olives oils are often made from one variety. Under optimal conditions, the oil contains up to 30 nutrients, among them beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin E. It comprises mainly monounsaturated fat, which reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol in the bloodstream. The higher the oil quality, the more immune-strengthening antioxidants it has; antioxidants are bitter, so bitter olive oil is a good thing. Olive oil is also a natural anti-inflammatory, generating an ibuprofen-like effect. A cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil protects the body from obesity and cancer, and it can reduce the risk of heart disease (with two tablespoons minimum a day) and diabetes type 2. It is a myth that its fats turn saturated or to trans fats when it’s used in cooking, even for high-heat frying, according to the International Olive Oil Council (IOC).

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Olive oil ice cream recipe

olive-oil-ice-crea_2985678bMAKES 1.2 litres (2 pints)

INREDIENTS
875ml (1½ pints) full-fat milk
250ml (9fl oz) double cream
220g (8oz) caster sugar
10 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract
good pinch sea-salt flakes, plus more to serve
75ml (2¾fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil (a fruity one), plus more to serve

METHOD
Begin by setting a bowl in a sink of ice-cold water.

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An Idiot’s Guide To Not Getting Duped When You’re Buying Olive Oil

Virgin? Extra virgin? Should you be worrying about how promiscuous your olive oil is, or the fat content, or about the mob selling you counterfeit oil? Here’s what you need to know before your next stir fry.

1. Refined Olive Oils

Olive oil is basically made by macerating olives, and spinning the paste in a centrifuge to separate out the water, leaving only the oil. But only about 30 percent of olive oil production ends there; the oil is usually then refined using solvents and high heat to neutralize the tastes of the oil. This lets manufacturers use olives that aren’t in the best condition, since the bad tastes from the mass production process are chemically removed. When you see bottles of ‘Pure Olive Oil,’ or just ‘Olive Oil,’ these are refined.

olive oil mill 12. Unrefined Olive Oils

Unrefined olive oils, such as ‘extra virgin’ and ‘virgin,’ don’t undergo chemical refining, so the oil goes straight from the centrifuge to the bottle. Since bad tastes and contamination can’t be hidden with refining, producers of these oils need to use olives that are in good condition and carefully manage the process.

3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A virgin olive oil is better quality than a refined olive oil, but an extra virgin olive oil goes the extra mile with flavor and care. In these oils, the taste of the olive remains intact, and they have higher amounts of nutrients and thus more health benefits. Not just anyone can claim their oil is extra virgin, according to Olive Oil Times: “In order for an oil to qualify as “extra virgin” the oil must also pass both an official chemical test in a laboratory and a sensory evaluation by a trained tasting panel recognized by the International Olive Council.”

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