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You may think that all extra virgin olive oil is the same but I am here to tell you that notion is quite false. I am excited to introduce you to ‘The Flavor of Your Life’ campaign. The campaign educates North Americans about authentic EVOO from Europe.
So here are a few facts you might not have known about Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made by pressing without heat or chemicals and represents the freshest and purest olive oil available. It is virtually FREE of acidity-below 0.8%. This is to assure its quality rather than its taste (overly processed and rancid oils contain higher levels of oleic acid). Olive oils are tested for peroxide values. Lower values indicate fresher oil and more rapid processing. These values are required for Extra Virgin designation. Every oil is judged by expert tasters, who must agree that it meets the high flavor standards for an Extra Virgin rating. Experts also test the EVOO for taste defects and for the presence of positive attributes of fruitiness, bitterness, and spiciness. If the oil doesn’t have the signature fruity taste and balances it won’t receive an EVOO rating. I bet you didn’t know so much goes into selecting EVOO, I know I didn’t.
Did you know…
-Olive oil has a high smoke point (400° F), so it can handle anything from a light sauté to a deep (and deeply flavorful) fry. You can bake with olive oil, as well.
-Between uses, store your oil someplace dark and cool (around 57° F, if possible), not on a counter or near a stove, and never in the refrigerator. Keep the lid screwed on tight, and use your oil within 6 months of opening, and within 18 months of purchasing.
So why should you choose European Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
There are so many reasons to choose European EVOO but I will touch on just a few of them.
The olive tree has been revered in Europe since Antiquity. Aristotle wrote in 300 BC in the Athenian Constitution,
“If one shall uproot or cut down an olive tree, whether privately owned or public, he will be brought before the Tribunal, and should the judges find him guilty, he shall be put to death.”
Europe offers a wide array of flavor profiles. Over thousands of years, farmers have evolved hundreds of varieties of olive trees and optimized them for different environmental conditions and terrains.
Olives harvested early in the season, late August (varies by region), are under-ripe and produce oils that are bitter, greener and pungent. Olives harvested in late November/December, are over-ripe and taste mild and buttery.
This is how European Olive Oils differ in taste and color:
You may be wondering where you can find European Olive Oil near you. Zucchi is premier Italian Olive Oil company that delivers traceable products you can trust. You can find Zucchi products at the following retailers: Big Y, HEB, King Kullen and Shaw’s.
I love cooking with European EVOO because I find that it enhances the flavor of all of my dishes. I love using it in salad dressings or when I am cooking vegetables, eggs or protein. One of my favorite things to do is experiment with the different European oils on different occasions. Just like wine you should have many different types of oils in your pantry. Oils can add so much flavor and depth there really isn’t anything you can’t do with them.
Here is a recipe for Skillet Garlic Knots that my family and I love to serve with pasta.
Skillet Garlic Knots
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ¼ C fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 8-oz package crescent dough sheets
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Gently warm extra virgin olive oil, butter, and garlic in a small saucepan. Add chopped parsley and stir. When the garlic is soft, pour out into a bowl and set aside.
- Roll out the dough on a cutting board. Cut in half lengthwise and then slice in the other direction into ¾” strips. Tie the dough strips into knots. Loop a strip of dough and then take one end over and through the loop.
- Arrange in the same iron skillet, so that the knots are touching each other. Pour the olive oil/garlic mixture over the knots and sprinkle each knot with a pinch of sea salt. Put in oven. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Best served warm, but still good when at room temperature. Can serve with a warm tomato sauce for dipping.
This post has been made in partnership with Moms Meet. All Opinions are my own.